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I\ i 

.\ O R T 1 1 



Being the Record of a Voyage of Exploration 

of the Ship ''Fratn' iSgj-gd and of a 

Fifteen Months Sleigh fourney by 

Dr. Nansen and Lieut. Johansen 





About 120 Full-page and Numerous Text Illustrations 
16 Colored Plates in Facsimile from Dr. Nansen's Own 
Sketches, Etched Portrait, Photogravures, and 4. Maps 

Vol. 1. 





1 ' I 

X I I I • 




Copyright, 1897, by Harikr A Hkothr 

-■/// rtiihtx resei~l-ed. 

• .•• .♦ 









I. Introduction i 

II. Preparations and Equipment 54 

III. The Start 81 

IV. Farewell to Norway. 104 

V. Voyage through the Kara Sea 146 

VI. The Winter Night 237 

VII. The Spring and Summer of 1894 442 

VIII. Second Autumn in the Ice 525 




FRIDTJOF NANSEN Etched Frontispiece '""'' 







FIRST DRIFT-ICE (JULY 28, 1 893) 107 


^OVA ,,6 
















IVAR MOGSTAD .... jg. 



i I, 









1893) "... 219 



TEMBER 25, 1893) 234 





ROOM " 252 

ETERS . Facing p. 254 








LITE Facing p. 3 14 






1893) 339 





GEAR 346 







TWO FRIENDS .... .,0 








HOME-SICKNESS (JUNE 1 6, 1 894) 45 1 



•«9. .'46, 


SUMMER i;Ut-, . . .f^ 


RHODOS TETHi . . . .-, 


NANSEX TAKES A WALK (jULV 6, 1 894) 477 

OUR KENNELS (SEPTEMBER 2/, 1 894) 480 

THE DOGS BASKING IN THE SUN (JUNE I3, 1894) . . . 482 



A SUMMER SCENE (jULY 21, 1 894) 493 



(JUNE l6, 1894) 499 


A SUMMER EVENING (JULY 14, 1 894) 505 



"FRAM" (JULY 1,1894) 509 



A SUMMER EVENING (jULY I4, 1894) 519 





BLOCK OF ICE (SEPTEMBER 28, 1 894) 546 





ETER" (JULY 12, 1894) 559 



MAPS [In Cover-pocket] 










TAN'-.A (SEPTEMBER 12, 1 893) .... 


STORM (SEPTEMBER I4, 1 893) .... 

22. 1893) 


Facing' /. 220 
" 228 







i <! 

The Author had not originally contemplated the publication 
of the colored sketches which are produced in this work. He 
has permitted their reproduction because they may be useful 
as showing color effects in the Arctic ; but he wishes it under- 
stood that he claims no artistic merit for them. 

For permission to reproduce the map of Franz Josef Land, 
in Julius Payer's " New Lands Within the Arctic Circle," the 
publishers are indebted to the courtesy of Messrs. Macmillan 
and Company. 





" A time will come in later years when the Ocean will unloose the 
bands of things, when the immeasurable earth will lie open, when sea- 
farers will discover new countries, and Thule will no longer be the ex- 
treme point among the lands."— Seneca. 

Unseen and untrodden under their spotless mantle of 
ice the rigid polar regions slept the profound sleep of 
death from the earliest dawn of time. Wrapped in his 
white shroud; the mighty giant stretched his clammy 
ice-limbs abroad, and dreamed his age-long dreams. 
Ages passed— deep was the silence. 
Then, in the dawn of history, far away in the south, 
the awakening spirit of man reared its head on hio-h 
and gazed over the earth. To the south it encountered 
warmth, to the north, cold ; and behind the boundaries 
of the unknown it placed in imagination the twin king- 
doms of consuming heat and of deadly cold. 

But the limits of the unknown had to recede step by 
step before the ever-increasing yearning after light and 

,1 I 


I I 




knowledge of the human mind, till they made a stand in 
the north at the threshold of Nature's great Ice Temple 
of the polar regions with their endless silence. 

Up to this point no insuperable obstacles had op- 
posed the progress of the advancing hosts, which con- 
fidently proceeded on their way. But here the ram- 
parts of ice and the long darkness of winter brought 
them to bay. Host after host marched on towards the 
north, only to suffer defeat. Fresh ranks stood ever 
ready to advance over the bodies of their predecessors 
Shrouded in fog lay the mythic land of Nivlheim, where 
the " Rimturser"* carried on their wild gambols. 

Why did we continually return to the attack ? There 
in the darkness and cold stood Helheim, where the 
death -goddess held her sway; there lay Nastrand, the 
shore of corpses. Thither, where no living being could 
draw breath, thither troop after troop made its way. 
To what end? Was it to bring home the dead, as did 
Hermod when he rode after Baldur.? No! It was 
simply to satisfy man's thirst for knowledge. Nowhere, 
in truth, has knowledge been purchased at greater cost 
of privation and suffering. But the spirit of mankind 
will never rest till every spot of these regions has been 
trodden by the foot of man, till every enigma has been 
solved. . 

Minute by minute, degree by degree, we have stolen 

* Frost-giants. 



forward, with painful effort. Slowly the day has ap- 
proached ; even now we are but in its early dawn; 
darkness still broods over vast tracts around the Pole. 

Our ancestors, the old Vikings, were the first Arctic 
voyagers. It has been said that their expeditions to the 
frozen sea were of no moment, as they have left no en- 
during marks behind them. This, however, is scarcely 
correct. Just as surely as the whalers of our age, in their 
persistent struggles with ice and sea, form our outposts 
of investigation up in the north, so were the old North- 
men, with Eric the Red, Leif, and others at their head, 
the pioneers of the polar expeditions of future gener- 

It should be borne in mind that as they were the first 
ocean navigators, so also were they the first to combat 
with the ice. Long before other seafaring nations had 
ever ventured to do more than hug the coast lines, our 
ancestors had traversed the open seas in all directions, 
had discovered Iceland ai.i Greenland, and had colo- 
nized them. At a later period they discovered America, 
and did not shrink from making a straight course over 
the Atlantic Ocean, from Greenland to Norway. Many 
and many a bout must they have had with the ice along 
the coasts of Greenland in their open barks, and many 
a life must have been lost. 

And that which impelled them to undertake these 
expeditions was not the mere love of adventure, though 
that is, indeed, one of the essential traits of our national 


Character. It was rather the necessity of discovering new 
countries for the many restless beings that could find no 
room in Norway. Furthermore, they were stimulated by 
a real interest for knowledge. Othar, who about 890 
resided in England at Alfred's Court, set out on an 
errand of geographical investigation ; or, as he says him- 
self, " he felt an inspiration and a desire to learn, to know, 
and to demonstrate how far the land stretched towards 
the north, and if there were any regions inhabited by 
man northward beyond the desert waste." He lived in 
the northernmost part of Helgeland, probably at Bjarkoi 
and sailed round the North Cape and eastward, even to 
the White Sea. 

Adam of Bremen relates of Harald Hard rade, " the 
experienced king of the Northmen," that he undertook a 
voyage out into the sea towards the north and "explored 
the expanse of the northern ocean with his ships, but 
darkness spread over the verge where the world falls 
away, and he put about barely in time to escape beincr 
swallowed in the vast abyss." This was Ginnungagap" 
the abyss at the world's end. How far he went no one 
knows, but at all events he deserves recognition as one 
of the first of the polar navigators that were animated 
by pure love of knowledge. Naturally, these Northmen 
were not free from the superstitious ideas about the 
polar regions prevalent in their times. There, indeed, 
they placed their Ginnungagap, their Nivlheim, Helheim,' 
and later on Trollebotn ; but even these mythical and 



poetical ideas contained so large a kernel of observation 
that our fathers may be said to have possessed a re- 
markably clear conception of the true nature of thino-s. 
How soberly and correctly they observed may best be 
seen a couple of hundred years later in Kongespeilet 
(" The Mirror of Kings "), the most scientific treatise of 
our ancient literature, where it is said that " as soon as 
one has traversed the greater part of the wild sea, one 
comes upon such a huge quantity of ice that nowhere in 
the whole world has the like been known. Some of the 
ice is so flat that it looks as if it were frozen on the sea 
itself; it is from 8 to lo feet thick, and extends so far 
out into the sea that it would take a journey of four 
or more days to reach the land over it. But this ice 
lies more to the northeast or north, beyond the limits 
of the land, than to the south and southwest or 
west. . . . 

" This ice is of a wonderful nature. It lies at times 
quite still, as one would expect, with openings or large 
fjords in it; but sometimes its movement is so strono- 
and rapid as to equal that of a ship running before 
the wind, and it drifts against the wind as often as 
with it." 

This is a conception all the more remarkable when 
viewed in the light of the crude ideas entertained by 
the rest of the world at that period with regard to 
foreign climes. 

The strength of our people now dwindled away, and 


, ■ I 

; f 1 



centuries elapsed before explorers once more sou-ht the 
northern seas. Then it was other nations, especially 
the Dutch and the English, that led the van. The 
sober observations of the old Northmen were forgot- 
ten, and in their stead we meet with repeated in- 
stances of the attraction of mankind towards the most 
fantastic ideas; a tendency of thought that founc' - V 
scope in the regions of the north. When tht .a 
proved not to be absolutely deadly, theories flew to the 
opposite extreme, and marvellous were the erroneous 
ideas that sprang up and have held their own down 
to the present day. Over and over again ,t has been 
the same-the most natural explanation of phenomena 
IS the very one that men have most shunned; and if 
no middle course was to be found, they have rushed 
to the wildest hypothesis. It is only thus that the be- 
lief in an open polar sea could have arisen and held 
Its ground. Though everywhere ice was met with, peo- 
ple maintained that this open sea must lie behind the 
ice. Thus the belief in an ice-free northeast and north- 
west passage to the wealth of Cathay or of India, fir.t 
propounded towards the close of the 15th century 
cropped up again and again, only to be again and again 
refuted. Since the ice barred the southern regions, the 
way must lie farther north ; and finally a passage over 
the Pole itself was sought for. Wild as these theories 
were, they have worked for the benefit of mankind; for 
by their means our knowledge of the earth has been 




widely extended. Hence we may see that no work done 
in the service of investigation is ever lost, not even when 
carried out under false assumptions. England has to 
thank these chimeras in no small degree for the fact that 
she has become the mightiest seafaring nation of the 

By many paths and by many means mankind has 
endeavored to penetrate this kingdom of death. At 
first the attempt was made exclusively by sea. Ships 
were then ill adapted to combat the ice, and people were 
loath to make the venture. The clinker-built pine and 
fir barks of the old Northmen were no better fitted for 
the purpose than were the small clumsy carvels of the 
first English and Dutch Arctic explorers. Little by 
little they learnt to adapt their vessels to the conditions, 
and with ever- increasing daring they forced them in 
among the dreaded floes. 

But the uncivilized polar tribes, both those that 
inhabit the Siberian tundras and the Eskimo of North 
America, had discovered, long before polar expeditions 
had begun, another and a safer means of traversing these 
regions— to wit, the sledge, usually drawn by dogs. It 
was in Siberia that this excellent method of locomotion 
was first applied to the service of polar exploration. 
Already in the 17th and i8th centuries the Russians 
undertook very extensive sledge journeys, and charted 
the whole of the Siberian coast from the borders of 
Europe to Bering Strait. And they did not merely 



II «■ 

travel along the coasts, but crossed the drift-ice itself to 
the New Siberian Islands, and even north of them. 
Nowhere, perhaps, have travellers gone through so many 
sufferings, or evinced so much endurance. 

In America, too, the sledge was employed by English- 
men at an early date for the purpose of exploring the 
shores of the Arctic seas. Sometimes the toboggan or 
Indian sledge was used, sometimes that of the Eskimo. 
It was under the able leadership of M'Clintock that 
sledge journeys attained their highest development. 
While the Russians had generally travelled with a large 
number of dogs, and only a few men, the English 
employed many more men on their expeditions, "and 
their sledges were entirely, or for the most part, drawn 
by the explorers themselves. Thus in the most ener- 
getic attempt ever made to reach high latitudes, Albert 
Markham's memorable march towards the north from 
the AlerLs winter quarters, there were i2> men who 
had to draw the sledges, though there were plenty of 
dogs on board the ship. It would appear, indeed, as 
if dogs were not held in great estimation by the 

The American traveller Peary has, however, adopted 
a totally different method of travelling on the inland ice 
of Greenland, employing as few men and as many dogs 
as possible. The great importance of dogs for sledge 
journeys was clear to me before I undertook my Green- 
land expedition, and the reason I did not use them then 








was simply that I was unable to procure any serviceable 

A third method may yet be mentioned which has 
been employed in the Arctic regions-namely. boats and 
sledges combined. It is said of the old Northmen in 
the Sagas and in the Kongespeilet, that for days on end 
they had to drag their boats over the ice in the Green, 
land sea, in order to reach land. The first in modern 
times to make use of this means of travelling was Parry, 
who, in his memorable attempt to reach the Pole in 1827' 
abandoned his ship and made his way over the drift-ice 
northward with boats, which he dragged on sledges. 
He succeeded in attaining the highest latitude (82° 45') 
that had yet been reached; but here the current carried 
him to the south more quickly than he could advance 
against it, and he was obliged to turn back. 

Of later years this method of travelling has not been 
greatly employed in approaching the Pole. It may 
however, be mentioned that Markham took boats with 
him also on his sledge expedition. Many expeditions 
have through sheer necessity accomplished long distances 
over the drift-ice in this way, in order to reach home 
after having abandoned or lost their ship. Especial 
mention may be made of the Austro-Hungarian Tegethoff 
expedition to Franz Josef Land, and the ill-fated Amer- 
ican Jeannette expedition. 

■ First Crossing of Greenland, Vol. I., p. 30. 




, I 

It i>cems that but few have thought of following the 
example of the Eskimo-living as they do, and, instead 
of heavy boats, taking light kayaks drawn by dogs. At 
all events, no attempts have been made in this direction. 
The methods of advance have been tested on four 
main routes: the Smith Sound route, the sea route 
between Greenknd and Spitzbergen, Franz Josef Land 
route, and the Bering Strait route. 

In later times, the point from which the Pole has 
been most frequently assailed is Smith Sound, probably 
because American explorers had somewhat too hastily 
asserted that they had there descried the open Polar 
Sea, extending indefinitely towards the north. Every 
expedition was stopped, however, by immense masses of 
ice, which came drifting southward, and piled them- 
selves up against the coasts. The most important expe- 
dition by this route was the English one conducted by 
Nares in 1875-76, the equipment of which involved a 
vast expenditure. Markham, the next in command to 
Nares, reached the highest latitude till then attained, 
^Z^ 20', but at the cost of enormous exertion and loss ;' 
and Nares was of opinion that the impossibility of reach^ 
ing the Pole by this route was fully demonstrated for 
all future ages. 

During the stay of the Greely expedition (from 1881 
to 1884) in this same region, Lockwood attained a 
some^vhat higher record, viz., ^^^ 24', the most north- 
erly point on the globe that human feet had trodden 



previous to the expedition of which the present work 

By way of the sea between Greenland and Spitzber- 
gen, several attempts have been made to penetrate the 
secrets of the domain of ice. In 1607 Henry Hudson 
endeavored to reach the Pole along the east -^oast of 
Greenland, where he was in hopes of finding an open 
basin and a waterway to the Pacific. His progress was, 
however, stayed at n" north lati;;ude, at a point of the' 
coast which he named " Hold with Hope." The Ger- 
man expedition under Koldeway (1869-70), which vis- 
ited the same waters, reached by the aid of sledges as 
far north as ^f north latitude. Owing to the enormous 
masses of ice which the polar current sweeps southward 
along this coast, it is certainly one of the most unfavor- 
able routes for a polar expedition. A better route is that 
by Spitzbergen, which was essayed by Hudson, when his 
progress was blocked off Greenland. Here he reached 
80° 21' north latitude. Thanks to the warm current 
that runs by the west coast of Spitzbergen in a north- 
erly direction, the sea is kept free from ice, and it is 
without comparison the route by which one can the most 
safely and easily reach high latitudes in ice-free waters. 
It was north of Spitzbergen that Edward Parry made his 
attempt in 1827, above alluded to. 

Farther eastward the ice -conditions are less favor- 
able, and therefore few polar expeditions have directed 
then- course through these regions. The original object 




of the Austro. Hungarian expedition under VVcyprccht 
and Payer (1872-74) was to seeic for the Northeast 
Passage; but at its first meeting with the ice it was 
set fast off the north point of Novaya Zemlya, drifted 
northward, and discovered Franz Josef Land, whence 
Payer endeavored to push forward to the north with 
sledges, reaching 82° 5' north latitude on an ishuid, 
which he named Crown- Prince Rudolf's Land. To the 
north of this he thouglit he tould see an extensive 
tract of land, lying in about 83° north latitude, which he 
called Petermann s Land. Franz Josef Land was after- 
wards twice visited by the English traveller Leigh Smith 
in 1880 and 1881-82; and it is here that the English 
Jackson-Harmsworth expedition is at present established. 
The plan of the Danish expedition under Hovgaard 
was to push forward to the North Pole from Cape 
Chelyuskin along the east coast of an extensive tract 
of land which Hovgaard thought must lie to the east 
of Franz Josef Land. He got set fast in the ice, how- 
ever, in the Kara Sea, and remained the winter there, 
returning home the following year. 

Only a few attempts have been made through Bering 
Strait. The first was Cook's, in 1776; the last the 
Jeannetie expedition (1879-81), under De Long, a 
lieutenant in the American navy. Scarcely anywhere 
have polar travellers been so hopelessly blocked by ice in 
comparatively low latitudes. The last-named expedition, 
however, had a most important bearing upon my own. 



As De Long hiiii.sclf says in a letter to James Gor- 
don Bennett, who sui^pliecl the funds for the expedition, 
he was of opinion that there were three routes to choose 
from— Smith Sound, the east coast of Greenland, or 
Bering Strait; but he put most faith in the hist, and 
this was ultimately selected. His main reason for this 
choice was his belief in a Jajjanese current running 
north through Bering Strait and onward along the 
east coast of Wrangel Land, which was believed to 
extend far to the north. It was urged that the warm 
water of this current would open a way along that 
coast, possibly up to the Pole. The experience of 
whalers showed that whenever their vessels were set 
fast in the ice here they drifted northwards; hence it 
was concluded that the current generally set in that 
direction. "This will help explorers," says De Long, 
"to reach high latitudes, but at the same time will 
make it more difificult for them to come back." The 
truth of these words he himself was to learn by bitter 

The /m//wr//t' stuck fast in the ice on September 6th, 
1879, in 71 ' 35' north latitude and 175° 6' east longitude, 
southeast of Wrangel Land — which, however, proved 
to be a small island— and drifted with the ice in a west- 
northwesterly direction for two years, when it foundered, 
June 1 2th, 1 88 1, north of the New Siberian Islands, in 
T]" 15' north latitude and 154^ 59' east longitude. 

Everywhere, then, has the ice stopped the progress of 




i \ 


I I 

mankind towards the north. In two cases only have ice- 
bound vessels drifted in a northerly direction -in the 
case of the Tegethoff and the Jeannette—^\{x\^ most of 
the others have been carried away from their goal by 
masses of ice drifting southward. 

On reading the history of Arctic explorations, it early 
occurred to me that it would be very difficult to wrest 
the secrets from these unknown regions of ice by adopt- 
ing the routes and the methods hitherto employed. But 
where did the proper route lie.? 

It was in the autumn of 1884 that I happened to 
see an article by Professor Mohn in the Norwegian 
Moygenblad, in which it was stated that sundry arti-^cles 
which must have come from the Jeaunctte had been 
found on the southwest coast of Greenland. He 
conjectured that they must have drifted on a floe ricrht 
across the Polar Sea. It immediately occurred to me 
that here lay the route ready to hand. If a floe could 
drift right across the unknown region, that drift might 
also be enlisted in the service of exploration-and my 
plan was laid. Some years, however, elapsed before, in 
February, 1890, after my return from my Greenland 
expedition, I at last propounded the idea in an address 
before the Christiania Geographical Society. As this 
address plays an important part in the history of the 
expedition, I shall reproduce its principal features, as 
printed in the March number of Naturcn, 1891. 

After giving a brief sketch of the different polar 

I 1 

I ^*«»w™ 



I 1 

expeditions of former years, I go on to say: "The 
results of these numerous attempts, as I have pointed 
out, seem somewhat discouraging. They appear to 
show plainly enough that it is impossible to sail to the 
Pole by any route whatever ; for everywhere the ice has 
proved an impenetrable barrier, and has stayed the 
progress of invaders on the threshold of the unknown 

" To drag boats over the uneven drift-ice, which more- 
over is constantly moving under the influence of the cur- 
rent and wind, is an equally great difficulty. The ice 
lays such obstacles in the way that any one who has ever 
attempted to traverse it will not hesitate to declare it 
well-nigh impossible to advance in this manner with 
the equipment and provisions requisite for such an 

Had we been able to advance over land, I said, that 
would have been the most certain route ; in that case 
the Pole could have been reached " in one summer by 
Norwegian snow-shoe runners." But there is every 
reason to doubt the existence of any such land. Green- 
land, I considered, did not extend farther than the most 
northerly known point of its west coast. "It is not 
probable that Franz Josef Land reaches to the Pole; 
from all we can learn it forms a group of islands separated 
from each other by deep sounds, and it appears im- 
probable that any large continuous track of land is to be 
found there. 




i I 

" Some people are perhaps of opinion that one ought 
to defer the examination of regions Hke those around the 
Pole, beset, as they are, with so many difficulties, till 
new means of transport have been discovered. I have 
heard it intimated that one fine day we shall be able to 
reach the Pole by a balloon, and that it is only waste of 
time to seek to get there before that day comes. It need 
scarcely be shown that this line of reasoning is untenable. 
Even if one could really suppose that in the near or 
distant future this frequently mooted idea of travelling to 
the Pole in an air-ship would be realized, such an expe- 
dition, however interesting it might be in certain respects, 
would be far from yielding the scientific results of expe- 
ditions carried out in the manner here indicated. Scien- 
tific results of importance in all branches of research 
can be attained only by persistent observations during 
a lengthened sojourn in these regions, while those o'f 
a balloon expedition cannot but be of a transitory 

" We must, then, endeavor to ascertain if there are 
not other routes— and I believe there are. I believe 
that if we pay attention to the actually existent forces of 
nature, and seek to work with and not against them, we 
shall thus find the safest and easiest method of reach- 
ing the Pole. It is useless, as previous expeditions have 
done, to work against the current; we should see if there 
is not a current we can work zoith. The Jcannette expe- 
dition is the only one, in my opinion, that started on the 




lit track, though it may have bet 

:n unwittingly and un- 


" The Jeannette drifted for two years in the ice, from 
Wrangel Land to the New Siberian Islands. Three 
years after she foundered to the north of these islands 
there was found frozen into the drift-ice, in the neighbor- 
hood of Julianehaab, on the southwest coast of Green- 
land, a number of articles which appeared, from sundry 
indubitable marks, to proceed from the sunken vessel. 
These articles were f^rst discovered by the Eskimo, 
and were afterwards collected by Mr. Lytzen, Colonial 
Manager at Julianehaab, who has given a list of them 
in the Danish Geographical Journal for 1885. Among 
them the following may especially be mentioned: 

" I. A list of provisions, signed by De Long, the com- 
mander of the Jeannette. 

" 2. A MS. list of the Jeannette s boats. 

" 3- A pair of oilskin breeches marked ' Louis Noros,' 
the name of one of the Jeannette s crew, who 
was saved. 

" 4- The peak of a cap on which, according to Lytzen s 
statement, was written F. C. Lindemann. The 
name of one of the crew of the Jeannette, who 
was also saved, was F. C. Nindemann. This 
may either have been a clerical error on Lyt- 
zen's part or a misprint in the Danish jour- 





" In America, when it was reported that these articles 
had been found, people were very sceptical, and doubts of 
their genuineness were expressed in the American news- 
papers. The facts, however, can scarcely be sheer in- 
ventions; and it may therefore be safely assumed that 
an ice-floe bearing these articles from the Jeannette had 
drifted from the place where it sank to Julianehaab. 

" By what route did this ice-floe reach the wost coast 
of Greenland ? 

" Professor Mohn, in a lecture before the Scientific 
Society of Christiania, in November, 1894, showed that it 
could have come by no other way than across the Pole.* 

" It cannot possibly have come through Smith Sound, 
as the current there passes along the western side of 
Bafifin's Bay, and it would thus have been conveyed to 
Baffin's Land or Labrador, and not to the west coast of 
Greenland. The current flows along this coast in a 
northerly direction, and is a continuation of the Green- 
land polar current, which comes along the east coast of 

* ^';- ^>:^=^^"' °f Julianehaab. afterwards contributed an article to the 
Gcografisk^Jt (8th Vol.. .885-86. pp. 49-5,. Copenhagen), in which 
he expressed h.mself. so far at least as I understand him. in the same sense 
and remarkably enough, suggested that this circumstance might possibly 
be found to have an important bearing on Arctic exploration. He savs • 
" It will therefore be seen that polar explorers who seek to advance tow- 
ards the Pole from the Siberian Sea will probably at one place or another 
be hemmed m by the ice. but these masses of ice will be carried by the 
current along the Greenland It is not. therefore, altogether impos- 
sible that. >f the ship of such an expedition is able to survive the pressure 
of the masses of ice for any length of time, it wHl arrive safely at South 
Greenland ; but in that case it must be prepared to spend several years 
on the way." ' 




Greenland, takes a bend round Cape Farewell, and passes 
upward along the west coast. 

" It is by this current only that the floe could have 

" But the question now arises : What route did it take 
from the New Siberian Islands in order to reach the east 
coast of Greenland } 

" It is conceivable that it might have drifted along the 
north coast of Siberia, south of Franz Josef Land, up 
through the sound between Franz Josef Land and 
Spitzbergen, or even to the south of Spitzbergen, and 
might after that have got into the polar current which 
flows along Greenland. If, however, we study the di- 
rections of the currents in these regions so far as they 
are at present ascertained, it will be found that this is 
extremely improbable, not to say impossible." 

Having shown that this is evident from the Tegcthoff 
drift and from many other circumstances, I proceeded : 

" The distance from the New Siberian Islands to the 
80th degree of latitude on the east coast of Greenland 
is 1360 miles, and the distance from the last-named place 
to Julianehaab 1540 miles, making together a distance 
of 2900 miles. This distance was traversed by the floe 
in 1 100 days, which gives a speed of 2.6 miles per 
day of 24 hours. The time during which the relics 
drifted after having reached the 80th degree of latitude, 
till they arrived at Julianehaab, can be calculated with 
tolerable precision, as the speed of the above-named 





current along the east coast of Greenland is well known. 
It may be assumed that it took at least 400 days to 
accomplish this distance; there remain, then, about 
700 days as the longest time the drifting articles can 
have taken from the New Siberian Islands to the 80th 
degree of latitude. Supposing that they took the 
shortest route-/, e., across the Pole-this computation 
gives a speed of about 2 miles in 24 hours. On the 
other hand, supposing they went by the route south of 
Franz Josef Land, and south of Spitzbergen, they must 
have drifted at much higher speed. Two miles in the 
24 hours, however, coincides most remarkably with the 
rate at which the >««;/^//^ drifted during the last months 
of her voyage, from January i to June 12, 188 1. In 
this time she drifted at an average rate of a little over 
2 miles in the 24 hours. If, however, the average speed 
of the whole of the Jcannettes drifting be taken, it will 
be found to be only i mile in the 24 hours. 

" But are there no other evidences of a current flowing 
across the North Pole from Bering Sea on the one side 
to the Atlantic Ocean on the other.? 
" Yes, there are. 

" Dr. Rink received from a Greenlander at Godthaab 
a remarkable piece of wood which had been found among 
the drift-timber on the coast. It is one of the ' throwing 
sticks 'which the Eskimo use in hurling their bird-dart^ 
but altogether unlike those used by the Eskimo on the 
west coast of Greenland. Dr. Rink conjectured that it 



possibly proceeded from the Eskimo on the east coast 
of Greenland. 

" From later inquiries,* however, it appeared that it 
must have come from the coast of Alaska in the neigh- 
borhood of Bering Strait, as that is the only place 
where ' throwing sticks ' of a similar form are used. It 
was even ornamented with Chinese glass beads, exactly 
similar to those which the Alaskan Eskimo obtain by 
barter from Asiatic tribes, and use for the decoration 
of their ' throwing sticks.' 

" We may, therefore, with confidence assert that this 
piece of wood was carried from the west coast of Alaska 
over to Greenland by a current the whole course of 
which we do not know, but which may be assumed to 
flow very near the North Pole, or at some place between 
it and Franz Josef Land. 

" There are, moreover, still further proofs that such a 
current exists. As is well known, no trees grow in 
Greenland that can be used for making boats, sledges, 
or other appliances. The driftwood that is carHed 
down by the polar current along the east coast of Green- 
land and up the west coast is, therefore, essential to the 
existence of the Greenland Eskimo. But whence does 
this timber come.'* 

" Here our inquiries again carry us to lands on the 

*See on this point DrY. Nielsen, in For,uunm„ser i VUenskabsseL 
^kabet t Lhrtsttania. Meeting held June ii, 1886. 



' ( 

Other side of the Pole. I have myself had an opportu- 
nity of examining large quantities of driftwood both on 
the west coast and on the east coast of Greenland. I 
have, moreover, found pieces drifting in the sea off the 
east coast, and, like earlier travellers, have arrived at the 
conclusion that much the greater part of it can only 
have come from Siberia, while a smaller portion may 
possibly have come from America. For amongst it are 
to be found fir, Siberian larch, and other kinds of wood 
peculiar to the north, which could scarcely have come 
from any other quarter. Interesting in this respect are 
the discoveries that have been made on the east coast 
of Greenland by the second German Polar Expedition. 
Out of twenty-five pieces of driftwood, seventeen were 
Siberian larch, five Norwegian fir (probably Picea obc 
vata\ two a kind of alder {Alnus incana?\ and one a 
poplar {Popnlus tremtda? the common aspen), all of 
which are trees found in Siberia. 

"By way of supplement to these observations on 
the Greenland side, it may be mentioned that the Jean- 
nette expedition frequently found Siberian driftwood 
(fir and birch) between the floes in the strong north- 
erly current to the northward of the New Siberian Isl- 

"Fortunately for the Eskimo, such large quantities 
of this driftwood come every year to the coasts of 
Greenland that in my opinion one cannot but assume 
that they are conveyed thither by a constantly flowing 

! ; 



current, especially as the wood never appears to have 
been very long in the sea-at all events, not without 
having been frozen in the ice. 

"That this driftwood passes south of Franz Josef 
Land and Spitzbergen is quite as unreasonable a theory 
as that the ice-floe with the relics from the /eauue^/e 
drifted by this route. In further disproof of this assump- 
tion it may be stated that Siberian driftwood is found 
nor/A of Spitzbergen in the strong southerly current, 
against which Parry fought in vain. 

" It appears, therefore, that on these grounds also 
we cannot but admit the existence of a current flow- 
ing across, or in close proximity to, the Pole. 

"As an interesting fact in this connection, it may 
also be mentioned that the German botanist Grisebach 
has shown that the Greenland flora includes a series 
of Siberian vegetable forms that could scarcely have 
reached Greenland in any other way than by the help 
of such a current conveying the seeds. 

" On the drift-ice in Denmark Strait (between Iceland 
and Greenland) I have made observations which tend to 
the conclusion that this ice too was of Siberian origin. 
For instance, I found quantities of mud on it, wl^ich 
seemed to be of Siberian origin, or might possibly have 
come from North American rivers. It is possible, how- 
ever, to maintain that this mud originates in the gla- 
cier rivers that flow from under the ice in the north of 
Greenland, or in other unknown polar lands ; so that 




this piece Of -evidence is of less importance than those 
already named 

" I'utti all this together, we seem driven to the 
conclusion that a current Jlcnvs at some point betxveen the 
Pole and Franz Josef Land from the Siberian Arctic 
Sea to the east coast of Green/and. 

"That such must be the case we may also infer in 
another way. If we regard, for instance, the polar cut- 
rent-that broad current which flows down from the un- 
known polar regions between Spitzbergen and Green- 
land -and consider what an enormous mass of water 
it carries along, it must seem self-evident that this 
cannot come from a circumscribed and small basin, but 
nuist needs be gathered from distant sources, the more 
so as the Polar Sea (so far as we know it) is remarkably 
shallow every where to the north of the European, Asiatic 
and American coasts. The polar current is no doubt 
fed by that branch of the Gulf Stream which makes its 
way up the west side of Spitzbergen ; but this small 
stream ,s far from being sufficient, and the main body 
of its water must be derived from farther northward. 

" It is probable that the polar current stretches its 
suckers, as it were, to the coast of Siberia and Bering 
Strait, and draws its supplies from these distant regions'! 
The water it carries off is replaced partly through the 
warm current before mentioned which makes its way 
through Bering Strait, and partly by that branch of the 
Gulf Stream which, passing by the north of Norwax-, 


bends eastward towards Novaya Zen.lya, and of which a 
great portion unc,„estionably contin„e,s its eourse alone 
the north coast of this island into the Siberian Arctic 
Sea. Ihat a current coming fron, the south takes 
this d,rec.ion_at all events, in some measure-appears 
probab e from the well-known fact that in the northern 
henmpherc the totation of the earth tends to con,pel a 
northward. flowing current, whether of water or of air 
to assume an easterly course. The earth's rotation nuay 
al»o cause a southward- flowing stream, like the polar 
current, to direct its course westward to the east coast 
ot (jrcenland. 

" But even if these currents flowing in the polar basin 
d.d not ex,st, I an, still of opinion that in some other 
way a body of water must collect in it, sufficient to form 
a polar current. In the first place, there are the North 
turopean, the Siberian, and North American rivers 
debouchn,g into the Arctic Sea, to supply this water. 
ll>e fluv,al basin of these ri^.ers is very considerable, 
eompr,s,ng a large portion of Northern Europe, almost 
he whole of Northern Asia or Siberia down to the Altai 
Mountan,s and Lake Uaikal, together with the principal 
part of Alaska and British North America. All these 
added together form no .n,important portion of the 
earth, and the rainfall of these countries is enormous. 
It .s not conceivable chat the Arctic Sea of itself could 
contnbute anything of in,portancc to this rainfall ; for in 
the first place, it is for the n.ost part covered with drift- 






ice, from which the evaporation is but trifling; and. 
in the next place, the comparatively low temperature 
in these regions prevents any considerable evaporation 
taking place even from open surfaces of water. The 
moisture that produces this rainfall must consequently in 
a great measure come from elsewhere, principally from 
the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the amount of 
water which thereby feeds the Arctic Sea must be very 
considerable. If we possessed sufficient knowledge of 
the rainfall in the different localities it might be exactly 

" The importance of this augmentation appears even 
greater when we consider that the polar basin is com- 
paratively small, and, as has been already remarked, very 
shallow; its greatest known depth being from 60 to 80 

" But there is still another factor that must helj) to 
increase the quantity of water in the polar basin, and 
that is its own rainfall. Weyprecht has already pointed 
out the probability that the large inilux of warm, moist 
atmosphere from the south, attracted by the constant 
low atmospheric pressure in the polar regions, must en- 
gender so large a rainfall as to augment considerably 

Smce writing the above I have tried to make such a calculation, and 
have come to the conclusion that the aggregate rainfall is not so large as 
I had at first supposed. See my paper in Tf,e Nor^.egian Geo,rap,ncal 
S^aety^ Annual, III.. .89.-92. p. 95 ; and The Geo^,rap,ncal Journal, Lon- 



the amount of water in the Polar Sea. Moreover, the 
fact that the polar basin receives large supplies of fresh 
water is proved by the small amount of salt in the water 
of the polar current. 

" From ail these considerations it appears unquestion- 
able that the sea around the Pole is fed with considera- 
ble quantities of water, partly fresh, as we have just seen, 
partly salt, as we indicated further back, proceeding from' 
the different ocean currents. It thus becomes inevitable, 
according to the law of equilibrium, that these masses' 
of water should seek such an outlet as we find in the 
Greenland polar current. 

" Let us now inquire whether further reasons can be 
found to show why this current flows exactly in the given 

" If we examine the ocean soundings, we at once 
find a conclusive reason why the main outlet must lie 
between Spitzbergen and Greenland. The sea here, so 
far as we know it, is at all points very deep; there' is, 
i'ldeed, a channel of as much as 2500 fathoms depth;' 
while south of Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land it is 
remarkably shallow— not more than 160 fathoms. As 
has been stated, a current passes northward through 
Bering Strait and Smith Sound, and the sounds between 
the islands north of America, though here, indeed, tliere 
is a southward current, are far too small and narrow to 
form adequate outlets for the mass of water of which 
we are speaking. There is, therefore, no other assump- 



tion left than that this mass of water must find its outlet 
by the route actually followed by the polar current. The 
channel discovered by the Jeaimette expedition between 
Wrangel Land and the New Siberian Islands may here be 
mentioned as a notable fact. It extended in a northerly 
direction, and was at some points more than 80 fathoms 
deep, while at the sides the soundings ran only to 40 or 
50 fathoms. It is by no means impossible that this chan- 
nel may be a continuation of the channel between Spitz- 
bergcn and Greenland,* in which case it would certainly 
influence, if not actually determine, the direction of the 
main current. 

" If we examine the conditions of wind and atmos- 
pheric pressure over the Polar Sea, as far as they 
arc known, it would ajjpcar that they must tend to 
produce a current across the Pole in the direction 
indicated. From the Atlantic to the south of Spitz- 
bergen and Franz Josef Land a belt of low atmosi^heric 
pressure (minimum belt) extends into the Siberian Arctic 
Sea. In accordance with well-known laws, the wind 
must have a preponderating direction from west to east 
on the south side of this belt, and this would promote an 
eastward-flowing current along the north coast of Siberia, 
such as has been found to exist there.! The winds on 


* Tlie discovery during our expedition of a great depth in the polar 
basni renders it higlily probable that this assumption is correct. 

t The experience of our expedition, however, does not point to any 
such eastward-flowing current along the Siberian coast. 





the north side of the minimum belt must, however, blow 
mainly in a direction from east to west, and will conse- 
quently produce a westerly current, passing across the 
Pole towards the Greenland Sea, exactly as we have seen 
to be the case. 

" It thus appears that, from whatever side we consider 
this question, even apart from the specially cogent evi- 
dcnces above cited, we cannot escape the conclusion that 
a current passes across or very near to the Pole into the 
sea between Greenland and Spitzbergen. 

" This being so, it seems to me that the plain thing 
for us to do is to make our way into the current on that 
side of the Pole where it flows northward, and by its 
help to penetrate into those regions which all who have 
hitherto worked against it have sought in vain to 

"My plan is, briefly, as follows: I propose to have a 
ship built as small and as strong as possible— just big 
enough to contain supplies of coals and provisions fo"^ 
twelve men for f^ve years. A ship of about 170 tons 
(gross) will probably suffice. Its engine should be pow- 
erful enough to give a speed of 6 knots ; but in addition 
it must also be fully rigged for sailing. 

" The main point in this vessel is that it be built on 
such principles as to enable it to withstand the pressure 
of the ice. The sides must slope sufficiently to prevent 
the ice, when it presses together, from glutting firm hold 
of the hull, as was the case with the /m;/;/. .V,- and other 




vessels. Instead of nipping the ship, the ice must raise 
it up out of the water. No very new departure in con- 
struction is likely to be needed, for the Jeannette, not- 
withstanding her preposterous build, was able to hold 
out against the ice pressure for about two years. That 
a vessel can easily be built on such lines as to fulfil these 
requirements no one will question who has seen a ship 
nipped by the ice. For the same reason, too, the ship 
ought to be a small one ; for, besides being thus easier to 
manoeuvre in the ice, it will be more readily lifted by the 
pressure of the ice, not to mention that it will be easier 
to give it the requisite strength. It must, of course, be 
built of picked materials. A ship of the form and size 
here indicated will not be a good or comfortable sea-boat, 
but that is of minor importance in waters filled with ice 
such as we are here speaking of. It is true that it would 
have to travel a long distance over the open sea before it 
would get so far, but it would not be so bad a sea-boat as 
to be unable to get along, even though sea-sick pas- 
sengers might have to offer sacrifices to the gods of 
the sea. 

" With such a ship and a crew of ten, or at the most 
twelve, able-bodied and carefully picked men, with a full 
equipment for five years, in every respect as good as 
modern appliances permit of, I am of opinion that the 
undertaking would be well secured against risk. With 
this ship we should sail up through Bering Strait and 
westward along the north coast of Siberia towards the 



New Siberian Islands* as early in the summer as the ice 
would permit. 

"Arrived at the New Siberian Islands, it will be ad- 
visable to employ the time to the best advantage in ex- 
amining the conditions of currents and ice, and to wait 
for the most opportune moment to advance as far as 
possible in ice-free water, which, judging by the accounts 
of the ice conditions north of Bering Strait given by 
American whalers, will probably be in August or the 
beginning of September. 

" When the right time has arrived, then we shall 
plough our way in amongst the ice as far as we can. We 
may venture to conclude from the experience of the 
Jeannette expedition that we should thus be able to reach 
a point north of tlie most northerly of the New Siberian 
Islands. De Long notes in his journal that while the ex- 
pedition was drifting in the ice north of Bennett Island 
they saw all around them a dark ' water-sky '-that is to 
say, a sky which gives a dark reflection of open water- 
indicating such a sea as would be, at all events, to some 
extent navigable by a strong ice -ship. Next, it must 
be borne in mind that the whole Jcauncttc expedition 
travelled in boats, partly in open water, from Bennett 
Island to the Siberian coast, where, as we know, the 



majority of them met with a lamentable end. 
Nordenskiold advanced no farther northward than 
to the southernmost of the islands mentioned (at the 
end of August) but here he found the water every- 
where open. 

" It is, therefore, probable that we may be able to 
push our way up past the New Siberian Islands, and 
that accomplished we shall be right in the current which 
carried the Jeaniiette. The thing will then be simply to 
force our way northward till we are set fast* 

" Next we must choose a fitting place and nioor the 
ship firmly between suitable ice-floes, and then let the 
ice screw itself together as much as it likes — the more 
the better. The ship will simply be hoisted up and will 
ride safely and firmly. It is possible it may heel over 
to a certain extent under this pressure; but that will 
scarcely be of much importance. . . . Henceforth the 
current will be our motive power, while our ship, no 
longer a means of transport, will become a barrack, and 
we shall have ample time for scientific observations. 

" In this manner the expedition will, as above in- 
dicated, probably drift across the Pole, and onward 
to the sea between Greenland and Spitzbergen. And 
when we get down to the 8oth degree of latitude, or 

* As subsequently stated in my \( . 're in London {^Geographical 
Society's Journal, p. i8), I purposed to gv, .lorth along the west coast of 
the New Siberian Islands, as I thought that the warm water coming from 
the Lena would keep the sea open here. 




even sooner, if it is summer, there is every likelihood of 
our getting the ship free and being able to sail home. 
Should she, however, be lost before this -which is 
certainly possible, though, as I think, very unlikely if 
she is constructed in the way above described - the 
expedition will not, therefore, be a failure, for our home- 
ward course must in any case follow the polar cur- 
rent on to the North Atlantic basin ; there is plenty 
of ice to drift on, and of this means of locomotion 
we have already had experience. If the Jeaunette 
expedition had had sufficient provisions, and had re 
mained on the ice-floe on which the relics were ulti- 
mately found, the result would doubtless have been 
very different from what it was. Our ship cannot 
possibly founder under the ice-pressure so quickly but 
that there would be time enough to remove, with all 
our equipment and provisions, to a substantial ice-f^oe 
which we should have selected beforehand in view of 
such a contingency. Here the tents, which we should 
take with us to meet this contingency, would be pitched 
In order to preserve our provisions and other equip- 
n^ents, we should not place them all together on one 
spot, but should distribute them over the ice, laying 
hem on rafts of planks and beams which we should 
have built on it. This will obviate the possibility of 
any of our equipments sinking, even should the floe 
on which they are break up. The crew of the 
who^ drifted for more than half a year along the eas" 




\ (1 

\ t 

t \ 

coast of Greenland, in this way lost a great quantity of 
their supplies. 

" For the success of such an expedition two things 
only are required, viz., good clothing and plenty of 
food, and these we can take care to have with us. 
We should thus be able to remain as safely on our 
ice-floe as in our ship, and should advance just as 
well towards the Greenland Sea. The only difference 
would be that on our arrival there, instead of proceed- 
ing by ship, we must take to our boats, which would 
convey us just as safely to the nearest harbor. 

" Thus it seems to me there is an overwhelmincr 
probability that such an expedition would be successful. 
Many people, however, will certainly urge: 'In all cur- 
rents there are eddies and backwaters; suppose, then, 
you get into one of these, or perhaps stumble on an un- 
known land up by the Pole and remain lying fast there, 
how will you extricate yourselves.?' To this I would 
merely reply, as concerns the backwater, that we must 
get out of it just as surely as we got into it, and that we 
shall have provisions for five years. And as regards the 
other possibility, we should hail such an occurrence with 
delight, for no spot on earth could well be found of 
greater scientific interest. On this newly discovered 
land we should make as many observations as possible. 
Should time wear on and find us still unable to oet our 
ship into the set of the current again, there would be 
nothing for it but to abandon her, and with our boats 



and necessary stores to search for the nearest cm-rent, in 
order to dritt in the manner before mentioned. 

" How long may we suppose such a voyage to occu- 
py ? As we have ah-eady seen, the reHcs of the Jean- 
nette expedition at most took two years to drift aloncr 
the same course down to the 8oth degree of latitude'' 
where we may,, with tolerable certainty, count upon get- 
ting loose. This would correspond to a rate of about 
two miles per day of twenty-four hours. 

" We may therefore not unreasonably calculate on 
reachmg this point in the course of t.o years; and it is 
also possible that the ship might be set free in a higher 
latitude than is here contemplated. Five years' provi- 
sions must therefore be regarded as ample. 

" But is not the cold in winter in these regions so 
severe that life will be impossibL.r There is no prob- 
ability of this. We can even say with tolerable cer- 
tainty that at the Pole itself it is not so cold in winter 
as it IS (for example) in the north of Siberia, an inhabit- 
ed region, or on the northern part of the west coast of 
Greenland, which is also inhabited. Meteorologists have 
calculated that the mean temperature at the Pole in 
January is about -^^^ Fahr. (-36^ C). while, for exam- 
ple, in Yakutsk it is -43^ Fahr. (-43 ' Q, and in Ver- 
khoyansk -54' Fahr. (_48^ C). We should remember 
that the Pole is probably covered with sea, radiation from 
which ,s considerably less than from large land surface^ 
such as the plains of North Asia. The polar recio/ 



has, therefore, in all probability a marine climate with 
comparatively mild winters, but, by way of a set-off, with 
cold summers. 

" The cold in these regions cannot, then, be any direct 
obstacle. One diflficulty, however, which many former 
expeditions have had to contend against, and which must 
not be overlooked here, is scurvy. During a sojourn of 
any long duration in so cold a climate this malady will 
unquestionably show itself unless one is able to obtain 
fresh provisions. I think, however, it may be safely 
assumed that the very various and nutritious foods now 
available in the form of hermetically closed preparations 
of different kinds, together with the scientific knowledge 
we now possess of the food-stuffs necessary for bodily 
health, will enable us to hold this danger at a distance. 
Nor do I think that there will be an entire absence of 
fresh provisions in the waters we shall travel through. 
Polar bears and seals we may safely calculate on finding 
far to the north, if not up to the very Pole. It may be 
mentioned also that the sea must certainly contain quan- 
tities of small animals that might serve as food in case of 

" It will be seen that whatever difificulties may be 
suggested as possible, they are not so great but that ^hey 
can be surmounted by means of a careful equipment, a 
fortunate selection of the members of the expedition, 
and judicious leadership; so that good results may be 
hoped for. We may reckon on getting out into the sea 




between Greenland and Spitzbergen as surely as we can 
reckon on getting into the Jcannette current off the New 
Siberian Islands. 

" Hut if this Jcannette current does not pass right 
across the Pole ? If, for instance, it passes between the 
Pole and Franz Josef Land, as above intimated ? What 
will the expedition do in that case to reach the earth's 
axis ? Yes, this may seem to be the Achilles' heel of the 
undertaking; for should the ship be carried past the 
Pole at more than one degree's distance it may then 
apjiear extremely imprudent and unsafe to abandon it in 
mid-current and face such a long sledge-journey over un- 
even sea-ice, which itself is drifting. Even if one reached 
the Pole it would be very uncertain whether one could 
find the ship again on returning. ... I am, however, of 
opinion that this is of small import : it is not to seek for 
the exact mathematical point that forms the northern ex- 
tremity of the earth's axis that we set out, for to reach this 
point IS ititrinsically of small moment. Our object is to 
investigate the great unknown region that surrounds the 
Pole, and these investigations will be equally important, 
from a scientific point of view, whether the expedition 
passes over the polar point itself or at some distance 
from it." 

In this lecture I had submitted the most important 
data on which my plan was founded ; but in the follow- 
ing years I continued to study the conditions of the 
northern waters, and received ever fresh proofs that my 





surmise of a drift ri-lu across the Polar Sea was correct. 
In a lecture delivered before the Geoirraphical Society in 
Christiania, on September 28, 1892. I alluded to some of 
these inquiries.*- 1 laid stress on thr I'lcf thai on con- 
•sidering the thickness and extent of the drift-ire in the 
seas on both sides of the Pole, one cannot but be stnxk 
by the fact that while the ice on the Asiatic side, north 
of the Siberian coast, is comparatively thin (the I'ce in 
which the /m«;.,v/^ drifted was, as a rule, not more than 
from 7 to 10 feet thick), that on the other side, which 
comes drifting from the north in the sea between Green- 
land and Spitzbergen, is remarkably massive, and this, 
notwithstanding that the sea north of Siberia is one of 
the coldest tracts on the earth. This, I suggested, could 
be explained only on the assumption that the ice is con- 
stantly drifting from the Siberian coast, and that, while 
passing through the unknown and cold sea there is time 
for it to attain its enormous thickness, partly by freezing, 
partly by the constant packing that takes 'place as ih^ 
floes screw themselves together. 

I further mentioned in the same lecture that the mud 
found on this drift-ice seemed to point to a Siberian 
origin. I did not at the time attach great importance 
to this fact, but on a further examination of the deposits 
I had collected during my Greenland expedition it ap- 
peared that it could scarcely come from anywhere else 

* See the Society's Annual, III., 1S92. p. 91. 



but Siberia. On investigating its mineralogical compo- 
sition, Dr. Torncboiim, of Stockholm, came to tiie con- 
clusion that the greater part of it must be Siberian river 
mud. He found about twenty different mnierals in 
It. " This quantity of dissimilar constituent mineral 
parts appears to me," he says, "to point to the fact 
that they take their origin from a very extensive tract 
of land, and one's thoughts naturally turn to Siberia." 
Moreover, more than half of this mud deposit consisted 
of humus, or boggy soil. More interesting, however, 
than the actual mud deposit were the diatoms found in 
it, which were examined by Professor Cleve, of Upsala, 
who says : " These diatoms are decidedly marine {i.e., 
take their origin from salt-water), with some few fresh- 
water forms which the wind has carried from land. The 
diatomous flora in this dust is quite peculiar, and unlike 
what I have found in many thousands of other speci- 
mens, with one excej^tion, with which it shows the most 
complete conformity— namely, a specimen which was col- 
lected by Kellman during the Vega expedition on an 
ice-floe off Cape Wankarem, near Bering Strait. Sjie- 
cies and varieties were perfectly identical in both speci- 
mens." Cleve was able to distinguish sixteen species 
of diatoms. All these appear also in the dust from 
Cape Wankarem, and twel e of them have been found 
at that place alone, and nowhere else in all the world. 
This was a notable coincidence between two such re- 
mote points, and Cleve is certainly right in saying: 



i I 

• It .s, mdeed, quite remarkable (hat the diatomous fl„ra 
on the ice-floes off Bering Suait and cm ei,e ea»t eoast 
"f Greenland should so con.pletely resemble eacl, „tl,er 
and should be so utterly unlilce all others: it points to 
an open connection between the seas east „f Greenland 
and north of Asia." •• Through this open connection," 
I cont.nued in my address, " drift-ice is, therefore, yearly 
transported across the tn.known Polar Sea. On Ms s„,L 
dn/l..a, an,/ ty M route. H ,nnst 6e no less possi. 
ilc lo tmnsporl an expedition:' 

V\-ben this plan was propounded it certainly „,et with 
approval n, variotis t|L,arters, especially here at home 
Ihus ,t was vigorously support..d by Professor Mohn 
who, mdeed, by his e.vplanation of the drift of the' 
Tcannetle relies, had given the original impulse to it 
But as might be e.vpected, it met with opposition i„ the' 
man,, especially from abroad, while most of the polar 
travellers and Arctic authorities declared, more or less 
openly, that it was sheer madness. The year before we 
s.t out, ,„ November, ,89., I laid it before the Geo 
graphical Society in London in a lecture at which the 
prmeipal Arctic travellers of England were present. 
After the lecture a discussion took place,- which plainly 
showed how greatly I was at variance with the generally 
accepted opinions as to the conditions in the huerior of 
the Polar Sea, the principles of ice navigation, and the 

*k' -v.,^ 



methods that a polar expedition ought to pursue. 
The eminent Arctic traveller, Admiral Sir Leopold 
M'CHntock, opened the discussion with the remark: 
"I think I may say this is the most adventurous 
pro^trramme ever brought under the notice of the 
Royal Geographical Society." He allowed that the 
facts spoke in favor of the correctness of my theories, 
but was in a high degree doubtful whether my plan 
could be reali/.ed. He was especially «f opinion that 
the danger of being crushed in the ice was too great. 
A ship could, no doubt, be built that would be strong 
enough to resist the ice pressure in summer; but should 
it be exposed to this pressure in the winter months, 
when the ice resembled a mountain frozen fast to the 
ship's side, he thought that the possibility of being forced 
up on the surface of the ice was very remote. He firmly 
believed, as did the majority of the others, that there 
was no probability of ever seeing the Fram again when 
once she had given herself over to the pitiless polar ice, 
and concluded by saying, " I wish the doctor full and 
speedy success. Ihit it will be a great relief to his 
many friends in England when he returns, and more 
particularly to those who have had experience of the 
dangers at all times inseparable from ice navigation, 
even in regions not quite so far north." 
Admiral Sir George Nares said : 
"The adopted Arctic axioms for successfully navi- 
gating an icy region are that it is absolutely necessary 




to keep close to a coast line, and that the farther we 
advance from civih'zation, the more desirable it is to 
insure a reasonably safe line of retreat. Totally dis- 
regarding these, the ruling principle of the voyage is 
that the vessel— on which, if the voyage is in any'' way 
successful, the sole future hope of the party will depend— 
is to be pushed deliberately into the pack-ice. Thus, her 
commander — in lieu of retaining any power over her 
future movements— will be forced to submit to be drifted 
helplessly about in agreement with the natural move- 
ments of the ice M which he is imprisoned. Supposing 
the sea currents are as stated, the time calculated as 
necessary to drift with the pack across the polar area is 
several years, during which time, unless new lands are 
met with, the ice near the vessel will certainly never be 
quiet and the ship herself never free from the danger of 
being crushed by ice presses. To guard against this the 
vessel is said to be unusually strong, and of a special 
form to enable her to rise when the ice presses against 
her sides. This idea is no novelty whatever; but when 
once frozen into the polar pack the form of the vessel goes 
for nothing. She is hermetically sealed to, and ioxm^ a 
part of, the ice block surrounding her. The form of the 
ship is for all practical purposes the form of the block of 
ice in which she is frozen. This is a matter of the first 
importance, for there is no record of a vessel frozen into 
the polar pack having been disconnected from the ice, 
and so rendered capable of rising under pressure as a 



separate body detached from the ice block, even in the 
height of summer. In the event of the destruction of 
the vessel, the boats— necessarily fully stored, not only 
for the retreat, but for continuing the voyage — are to be 
available. This is well in theory, but extremely difificult 
to arrange for in practice. Preparation to abandon the 
vessel is the one thing that gives us the most anxiety. 
To place boats, etc., on the ice, packed ready for use, 
involves the danger of being separated from them by 
a movement of the ice, or of losing them altocrether 

CD ^ 

should a sudden opening occur. If we merely have every- 
thing handy for heaving over the side, the emercren- 
cy may be so sudden that we have not time to save 
anything. . . ." 

As regards the assumed drift of the polar ice, Nares 
expressed himself on the whole at variance with me. 
He insisted that the drift was essentially determined by 
the prevailing winds: 

" As to the probable direction of the drift, the Fram, 
starting from near the mouth of the Lena River, may 
expect to meet the main pack not farther north than 
about latitude 76^ 30'. I doubt her getting farther north 
before she i.s beset, but taking an extreme case, and 
giving her 60 miles more, she will then only be in the 
same latitude as Cape Chelyuskin, 730 miles from the 
Pole, and about 600 miles from my supposed limit of the 
effective homeward-carrying ocean current. After a close 
study of all the information we possess, I think the wind 




will be more likely to drift her towards the west than 
towards the W ith an ice-enciimbered sea north of 
her. and more open water or newly made ice to the south- 
ward, the chances are small for a northerly drift, at all 
events, at first, and afterwards I know of no natural forces 
that will carry the vessel in any reasonable time much 
farther from the Siberian coast than the Jca7incite was 
carried, and during the whole of this time, unless pro- 
tected by newly discovered lands, she will be to all intents 
and purposes immovably sealed up in the pack, and 
exposed to its well-known dangers. There is no doubt 
that there is an ocean connection across the area pro- 
posed to be explored." 

In one point, however, Nares was able to declare him- 
self in agreement with me. It uas the idea "that the 
principal aim of all such voyages is to explore the un- 
known polar regions, not to reach exactly that mathe- 
matical point in which the axis of our globe has its 
northern termination." * 

Sn- Allen Young says, among other things: "Dr. 
Nansen assumes the blank space around the axis of the 
earth to be a pool of water or ice; I think the great 
danger to contend with will be the land in nearly every 
direction near the Pole. Most previous navigators seem 

* After our return home. Admiral Nares, in the most chivalrous fashi.,n 
sent me a letter of con-rat ilation. in which he said that the Fravf, re- 
markable voyage over the Polar Sea proved that my theory was correct 
and his scepticism unfounded. 





to have continued seeing land again and again farther 
and farther north. These Jcannelte reh'cs may have 
drifted through narrow channels, and thus finally arrived 
at their destination, and, I think, it would be an extreme- 
ly dangerous thing for the ship to drift throucrh them 
where she might impinge upon the land, and be kept for 

With regard to the ship's form. Sir Allen Young says: 
" I do not think the form of the ship is any great point, 
for, when a ship is fairly nipped, the question is if there 
is any swell or movement of the ice to lift the ship. If 
there is no swell the ice must go through her, whatever 
material she is made of." 

One or two authorities, however, expressed themselves 
in fa\'or of my plan. One was the Arctic traveller. Sir 
E. Inglefield, another Captain (now Admiral) Wharton, 
Director of the Hydrographic Department of England. 

\n a letter to the (ieograjjliical Society, Admiral Sir 
George H. Richards says, on the occasion of my address: 
" I regret to have to speak discouragingly of this i)r()i. 
ect, but I think that any one who can si)eak with au- 
thority ought to speak plainly where so much may be at 

With regard to the currents, he says : " I believe 
there is a constant outflow (I prefer this word to current) 
from the north, in consequence of the displacement of 
the water from the region of the Pole by the ice-cap 
which covers it, intensified in its density by the enor- 

,1^ !i 



mous weight of snow accumulated on its surface." This 
outflow takes place on all sides, he thinks, from the polar 
basin, but should be most pronounced in the tract 
between the western end of the Parry Islands and 
Spitzbergen ; and with this outflow all previous expedi- 
tions have had to contend. He does not appear to make 
any exception as to the Tcoc/kof or Jmnnettc, and can 
find no reason " for believing that a current sets north 
over the Pole from the New Siberian Islands, which 
Dr. Nansen hopes for and believes in. ... It is my 
opinion that when really within what may be called the 
inner circle, say about ']^' of latitude, there is little 
current of any kind that would influence a ship in the 
close ice that must be expected; it is when we get 
outside this circle— round the corners, as it were— into 
the straight wide channels, where the ice is loose, that 
we are really affected by its influence, and here the ice 
gets naturally thinner, and more decayed in autumn, and 
less dangerous to a ship. Within the inner circle prob- 
ably not much of the ice escapes ; it becomes older and 
heavier every year, and in all probability completely 
blocks the navigation of ships entirely. This is the 
kind of ice which was brought to Nares's winter quarters 
at the head of Smith Sound in about .S2 30' north; 
and this is the ice which Markham struggled against in 
his sludge journey, and against which no human power 
could prevail." 

He atta.aed " ,0 real importance" to \\-\^ Jcannctte 





relics. "If found in Greenland, they may well have 
drifted down on a floe from the neigliborhood of Smith 
Sound, from some of the American expeditions which 
u-ent to Greely's rescue." " It may also well be that 
some of De Long's printed or wrii.c^n documents in 
regard to his equipment may have been taken out by 
these expeditions, and the same may apply to the other 
articles." He does not, however, expressly say whether 
there \vas any indication of such having been the case. 

In a similar letter to the Geographical Society the 
renowned botanist Sir Joseph Hooker says: "Dr. Nan- 
sen's project is a wide departure from any hitherto put 
in practice for the purpose of polar discovery, and it 
demands the closest scrutiny both on this account, and 
because it is one involving the greatest peril. 

" From my experience of three seasons in the Antarc- 
tic^ regions I do not think that a ship, of whatever 
build, could long resist destruction if committed to the 
movements of the pack in the polar regions. One built 
as strongly as the Fram would no doubt resist great 
pressures in the open pack, but not any pressure ox re- 
peated pressures, and still less the thrust of the pack 
if driven with or by it against land. The lines of the 
Fram might be of service so long as she was on an 
even keel or in ice of no great height above the water- 
line; but amongst floes and bergs, or when thrown on 
her beam-ends, they would avri' rr nothing." 

If the Fram were to dnft towards the Greenland 



coa^t or the American polar islands he is of opinion 
that, supposing a landing could be effected, there would 
be no probability at all of salvation. Assuming that a 
landing could be effected, it must be on an inhospitable 
and probably ice-bound coast, or on the mountainous 
ice of a palajocrystic sea. With a certainly enfeebled, 
and probably reduced ship's company, there could, in 
such a case, be no prospect of reaching succor. Putting 
aside the possibility of scurvy (against which there it 
no certain prophylactic), have the depressing influence 
on the minds of the crew resulting from lr,ng confine- 
ment in very close quarters durir^g many months of dark- 
ness, extreme cold, inaction, ennui, constant peril, and ihe 
haunting .Micertainty as to the future, been si'i^ciently 
taken into account > Perfunctory duties and occupations 
do not avert the effects of these conditions; thcv hardly 
mitigate them, and have been known to aggravate ihem. 
I do not consider the attainment of Dr. Nansen's object 
by the means at his disposal to be impossible; but I do 
consider that the success of such an enterprise would 
not justify the exposure of valuable lives for its attain- 

In America, General Greely, the leader of the ill-fated 
expedition generally known by his name (1881-84). wrote 
an article in The Forum (August, 1891), in which he 
says, among other things: "It strikes me as almost in- 
credible that the plan here advanced by Dr. Nansen 
should receive encouragement or support. It seems to 





me to be based on fallacious ideas as to physical condi- 
tions within the polar regions, and to foreshadow, if 
attempted, barren results, apart from the suffering and 
death among its members. Dr. Nansen, so far as I 
know, has had no Arctic service; his crossing of Green- 
land, however difficult, is no more polar work than the 
scaling of Mount St. Elias. It is doubtful if any hydrog- 
rapher would treat seriously his theory of polar currents, 
or if any Arctic traveller would indorse the whole scheme. 
There are perhaps a dozen men whose Arctic service has 
been such that the positive support of this plan by even 
a respectable minority would entitle it to consideration 
and confidence. These men are: Admiral M'Clintock, 
Richards, Collinson, and Nares, and Captain Markham 
of the Royal Navy, Sir Allen Young and Leigh-Smith 
of England, Koldewey of Germany, Payer of Austria, 
Nordenskiold of Sweden, and Melville in our own coun- 
try. I have no hesitation in asserting that no two of 
these believe in the possibility of Nansen s first proposi- 
tion-to build a vessel capable of living or navigating 
in a heavy Arctic pack, into which it is proposed to put 
his shq). The second proposition is even more hazard- 
ous, involving as it does a drift of more than 2000 miles 
in a straight line through an unknown region, during 
which the party in its voyage (lasting two or more year^ 
we are told) would take only boats along, encamp on an 
iceberg, and live there while floating across." 

After this General Greely proceeds to prove the 





falsity of all my assumptions. Respecting the objects 
from the Jeannctte. he sa3s plainly that he does not 
believe in them. " Probably some drift articles were 
found," he says, "and it would seem more reasonable to 
trace them to the Porfcus. which was wrecked in Smith 
Sound, about looo miles north of Julianehaab. 
It is further important to note that, if the articles 
were really from the Jeanncttc. the nearest route would 
have been, not across the North Pole along the east coast 
< Greenland, but down Kennedy Channel and by way 
<-; Smith Sound and Bafifin's Bay, as was suggested, as to 
drift from the Porte^.sr 

We could not pcssibly get near the Pole itself by a 
long distance, says Greely, as " we know almost as well 
as if we had seen it that there is in the unknown re- 
gions an extensive land whiJi is the birthplace of the 
flat-topped icebergs or the palzeocrystic ice." In this 
glacier-covered land, which he is of opinion must be over 
300 miles in diameter, and which- sends out icebergs to 
Greenland as well as to Franz Josef Land,* the "poIe 
itself must be situated. 

" As to the indestructible ship," he says, " it is certain- 
ly a most desirable thing for Dr. Nansen." His mean- 
ing, however, is that it cannot be built. " Dr. Nansen 
appears to believe that the question of building on such 

* With reference to his statement that Leigh-Smith had c bserved such 
^ebergs on the nort,nvest coast of Franz Josef Land, it may be re 
marked that no human being has ever been there. 




Hnes as will give the ship the greatest power of resistance 
to the pressure of the ice-floe has not been thoroughly 
and satisfactorily solved, although hundreds of thous^ands 
of dollars have been spent for this end by the seal and 
whaling companies of Scotland and Newfoundland " As 
-in authority he quotes Melville, and says "every Arctic 
navigator of experience agrees with Melville's dictum 
that even if built solid a vessel could not withstand the 
ice-pressure of the heavy polar pack." To my assertion 
that the ice along the " Siberian coast is comparatively 
thin, 7 to 10 feet," he again quotes Melville, who speaks 
of ice "50 feet high, etc." (something we did not dis- 
cover, by-the-way, during the whole of our voyage). 

After giving still more conclusive proofs^hat the 
Fram must inevitably go to the bottom as soon as it 
should be exposed to the pressure of the ice, he goes on 
to refer to the impossibility of drifting in the ice with 
boats. And he concludes his article with the remark 
that "Arctic exploration is sufficiently credited with 
rashness and danger in its legitimate and sanctioned 
methods, without bearing the burden of Dr. Nansen s 
illogical scheme of self-destruction." 

From an article Greely wrote after our return home, 
in Harpers Weekly for September 19th, 1896, he 
appears to have come to the conclusion that the 
Jeannette relics were genuine and that the assump- 
tion of their drift may have been correct, mentionincr 
" Melville. Dall, and others " as not believing in thein 



I fl 



1 £ 




He allows also that my scheme has been carried out 
in spite of what he had said. This time he concludes 
the article as follows: "In contrasting the expeditions 
of De Long and Nan..en, it is necessary to allude to 
the single blemish that mars the otherwise magnificent 
career of Nansen, who deliberately quitted his comrades 
on the ice-beset ship hundreds of miles from any known 
land, with the int >ntion of not returning, but, in his own 
reported words, 'to go to Spitzocrgen, where he felt 
certain to find a ship,' 600 miles away. De Long and 
Ambler had such a sense of honor that they sacrificed 
their lives rather than separate themselves from a dying 
man, whom their presence could not save. It passes 
comprehension how Nansen could have thus deviated 
from the most sacred duty devolving on the commander 
of a na\'al expedition. The safe return of brave CajD- 
tain Sverdrup with the Fyam does not excuse Nansen. 
Sverdrup's consistency, courage, and skill in holding fast 
to the Fmm and bringing his comrades back to Nor- 
way will win for him, in the minds of many, laurels even 
brighter than those of his able and accomplished chief." 

One of the few who publicly gave to my plan the 
support of his scientific authority was Professor Supan, 
the well-known editor of Petermawis Mitteiluuiycu. In 
an article in this journal for 1891 (p. 191), he not only 
spoke V armly in its favor, but supported it with new 
suggestions. His view was that what he terms the 
Arctic " wind-shed " probably for the greater part of the 



year divides the unknown polar basin into two parts. 
In the eastern part the prevailing winds blow towards 
the Bering Sea, w hile those of the western part blow 
towards the Atlantic. He thought that, as a rule, this 
"wind-shed" must lie near the Bering Sea, and that the 
prevailing winds in the tracts we purposed traversing 
would thus favor our drift. Our experience bore out 
Professor Supan's theory ii, i remarkable deo-ree. 




^ 1^ 1 2.2 
I 1^ III 2.0 

L25 llllli.4 i|jj 








'"^ > 









WEBSTER, N.Y. 14S80 

(716) 873-4503 













i ,j 





Foolhardy as the scheme appeared to some, it re- 
ceived powerful support from the Norwegian Government 
and the King of Norway. A bill was laid before the 
Storthing for a grant of ^11,250 (200,000 kroner), or 
two-thirds of the estimated cost. The remaining third 
I hoped to be able to raise from private sources, as I 
had already received promises of support from many 

On June 30, 1890, the amount demanded was voted 
by the Storthing, which thereby expressed its wish that 
the expedition should be a Norwegian one. In January, 
1 89 1, Mr. Thomas Fearnley, Consul Axel Heiberg, and 
Mr. Ellef Ringnes set to work to collect the further 
sum required, and in a few days the amount was sub- 

His Majesty King Oscar gave ^1125 (20,000 kroner), 
while private individuals in Norway gave as follows: 



L s. d. 

Consul Axel Heibeig 562 10 o 

Ditto (later) 393 15 o 

Mr. Anton Chr. Houen 1125 o o 

Mr. A. Dick, Hovik 281 5 o 

Ditto (later) 393 15 o 

Mr. Thomas Fearnley (merchant) 281 5 o 

Ditto (later) 56 5 o 

Messrs. Ringnes & Co. (brewers) 281 5 o 

Ditto (later) ...... 56 5 o 

Mr. A. S. Kjosterud (merchant), Dram men ... 281 5 o 

Ditto (latei) . 56 5 o 

Mr. E. Sundt (merchant), Bergen 281 50 

Consul VVestye Egeberg 562 10 o 

Mr. Halver Schou 281 5 o 

Baron Harald Wedel Jarlsberg and C. lovenskiold. 

Minister of State 562 10 o 

Consul Nicolay H. Knudtzon, Christiansund . . . 281 5 o 

Among foreign contributors may be mentioned the 
Royal Geographical Society of London, which showed 
its sympathy with the undertaking by subscribing ^300 
sterling. Baron Oscar Dickson provided at his own cost 
the electric installation (dynamo accumulators, and con- 

As the work of equipment proceeded, it appeared that 
the first estimate was not sufificient. This was especially 
due to the ship, which was estimated to cost ^8437 los. 
(150,000 kroner), but which came to nearly double that 
sum. Where so much was at stake, I did not think it 
right to study the cost too much, if it seemed that a little 
extra outlay could insure the successful result of the 
expedition. The three gentlemen who had taken the 
lead in the first collection, Mr. Thomas Fearnley, Con- 

^^ • * »- 4 « . 

n ^ \ 


sul Axel Heiberg, and Mr. Ellef Ringnes, undertook at 
my request to constitute themselves the committee of 
the expedition and to take charge of its pecuniary affairs. 
In order to cover a portion of the deficiency, they, to- 
gether with certain members of the Council of the Geo- 
graphical Society, set on foot another private subscrip- 
tion all over the country, while the same society at a 
later period headed a national subscription. By these 
means about ^956 5.^. was collected in all. I had further 
to petition the Norwegian Storthing for an additional 
sum of ^4500, when our national assembly again gave 
proof of its sympathy with the undertaking by grandng 
the amount named (June 9, 1890). 

Finally Consul Axel Heiberg and Mr. Dick subscribed 
an additional £2,^^ los. each, while I myself made up the 
deficiency that still remained on the eve of our departure. 

Statement of Accounts of the Expedition on its Setting 

Out, 1893. 


c. » r- Kroner ore. 

State Grant . . o 

H A/T Tu ir- , 280,000 o 

M.M. 1 he King, and original private subscribers . . 105000 o 

Private subscription of the Geographical Society . . ,-,'78, ., 

National subscription . o " 

J ^ ^ 2,287 21 

Interest accrued . ^ 

J-, , , 9.729 78 

Iruaranteed by private individuals ... 5 400 o 

Deficit covered by A. Heiberg and A. Dick . . .' ,.'000 o 

Ditto F. Nansen ,' ^ 

•Geogiaphical Society, London (^300) 
H. Simon, Manchester (^100) 

A Norwegian in Riga (1000 roubles) and others . . 9,278 62 

'^°^''' ^u.339~~3^ 

* Nearly _^25,ooo. """"' 




Kroner ore. 

Wages account 45,440 o 

Life insurance premiums of married participators . . 5,361 90 

Instruments account 12,978 68 

Ship account 271 027 8 

Provisions account 39,172 98 

Expenses account 10,612 ^8 

Equipment account 57,846 34 

'To'^^^ 444.339 36 

It will be evident from the plan above expounded that 
the most important point in the equipment of our 
expedition was the building of the ship that was to carry 
us through the dreaded ice regions. The construction 
of this vessel was accordingly carried out with greater 
care, probably, than has been devoted to any ship that 
has hitherto ploughed the Arctic waters. I found in the 
well-known shipbuilder, Colin Archer, a man who 
thoroughly understood the task I set him, and who 
concentrated all his skill, foresight, and rare thorough- 
ness upon the work. We must gratefully recognize that 
the success of the expedition was in no small degree due 
to this man. 

If we turn our attention to the long list of former ex- 
peditions and to their equipments, it cannot but strike 
us that scarcely a single vessel had been built specially 
for the purpose— in fact, the majority of explorers have 
not even provided themselves with vessels which were 
originally intended for ice navigation. This is the more 




surprising when we remember the sums of money that 
have been lavished on the equipment of some of these 
expeditions. The fact is, they have generally been in 
such a hurry to set out that there has been no time to 






devote to a more careful equipment. In many cases, 
indeed, preparations were not begun until a few months' 
before the expedition sailed. The present expedition, 



r »^>,r4-iV*f*?i■t.^ tj 

v mvs-,: '- f^ a - - J T a | - t i ir j i , ■ ■■■ 



however, could not be equipped in so short a time, and 
if the voyage itself took three years, the preparations 
took no less time, while the scheme was conceived thrice 
three years earlier. 

Plan after plan did Archer make of the projected 
ship; one model after another was prepared and aban- 

Fresh improvements were constantly being suggested. 
The form we finally adhered to may seem to many peo- 
ple by no means beautiful ; but that it is well adapted to 
the ends in view I think our expedition has fully proved. 
What was especially aimed at was, as mentioned on page 
29, to give the ship such sides that it could readily be 
hoisted up during ice -pressure without being crushed 
between the floes. Greely, Nares, etc., etc., are certainly 
right in saying that this is nothing new. I relied here 
simply on the sad experiences of earlier expeditions. 
What, however, may be said to be new is the fact that we 
not only realized that the ship ought to have such a form, 
but that we gave it that form, as well as the necessary 
strength for resisting great ice -pressure, and that this 
was the guiding idea in the whole work of construction. 
Colin Archer is quite right in what he says in an article 
in the Norsk Tidsskrift for Sovcesen, 1892: "When one 
bears in mind what is, so to speak, the fundamental idea 
of Dr. Nansen's plan in his North Pole Expedition 
it will readily be seen that a ship which is to be built 
with exclusive regard to its suitability for this object 





'■ \ 

must differ essentially from any other previously known 
vessel. . . . 

" In the construction of the ship two points nuist be 
especially studied: (i) that the shape of the hull be such 
as to offer as small a vulnerable target as possible to the 
attacks of the ice; and (2) that it be built so solidly as to 
be able to withstand the greatest possible pressure from 
without in any direction whatsoever." 

And thus she was built, more attention being paid to 
making her a safe and warm stronghold while drifting in 
the ice than to endowing her with speed or good saiHng 

As above stated, our aim was to make the ship as small 
as possible. The reason of this was that a small ship is, 
of course, lighter than a large one, and can be madJ 
stronger in proportion to her weight. A small ship, too, 
is better adapted for navigation among the ice; it is 
easier to handle her in critical moments, and to f^nd a 
safe berth for her between the nacking ice-floes. I was 
of opinion that a vessel of 170 tons register would suffice, 
but the Fram is considerably larger, 402 tons gross and 
307 tons net. It was also our aim to build a short vessel, 
which could thread her way easily among the floes, es- 
pecially as great length would have been a source of 
weakness when ice-pressure set in. But in order that 
such a ship, which has, moreover, very sloping sides, shall 
possess the necessary carrying capacity, she must be 
broad; and her breadth is, in fact, about a third of her 



(- ! I 



u \.i 

length. Another point of importance was to make the 
sides as smooth as possible, without projecting edges, 
while plane surfaces were as much as possible avoided in 
the neighborhood of the most vulnerable points, and the 
hull assumed a plump and rounded form. Bow, stern, 
and keel— all were rounded off so that the ice should not 
be able to get a grip of her anywhere. For this reason, 
too, the keel was sunk in the planking, so that barely 
three inches protruded, and its edges were rounded. 
The object was that " the whole craft should be able to 
slip like an eel out of the embraces of the ice." 

The hull was made pointed fore and aft, and some- 
what resembles a pilot-boat, minus the keel and the sharp, 
garboard strakes. Both ends were made specially strong. 
The stem consists of three stout oak beams, one insid^'e 
the other, forming an aggregate thickness of 4 feet 
(i.::5 m.) of solid oak; inside the stem are fitted solid 
breasthooks of oak and iron to bind the ship's sides 
together, and from these breasthooks stays are placed 
against the pawl-bit. The bow is protected by an iron 
stem, and across it are fitted transverse bars which run 
some small distance backwards on either side, as is usual 
in sealers. 

The stern is of a special and somewhat particular 
construction. On either side of the rudder and propeller 
posts— which are sided 24 inches (65 cm.)-is fitted a 
stout oak counter-timber following the curvature of the 
stern right up to the upper deck, and forming, so to 




speak, a double stern-post. The planking is carried out- 
side these timbers, and the stern protected by heavy iron 
plates wrought outside the planking. 

Between these two counter-timbers there is a well for 
the screw, and also one for the rudder, through which 
they can both be hoisted up on deck. It is usual in 
sealers to have the screw arranged in this way, so that 
it can easily be replaced by a spare screw should it 
be broken by the ice. Hut such an arrangement is not 
usual in the case of the rudder, and, while with our small 
crew, and with the help of the capstan, we could hoist 
the rudder on deck in a few minutes in case of any sud- 
den ice-pressure or the like, I have known it take seal- 
ers with a crew of over 60 men several hours, or even a 
whole day, to ship a fresh rudder. 

The stern is, on the whole, the Achilles' heel of ships 
in the Polar Seas; here the ice can easily inflict great 
damage, for instance, by breaking the rudder. To guard 
against this danger, our rudder was placed so low down 
as not to be visible above water, so that if a floe should 
strike the vessel aft, it would break its force against the 
strong stern-part, and could hardly touch the rudder it- 
self. As a matter of fact, notwithstanding the violent 
pressures we met with, we never suffered any injury in 
this respect. 

Everything was of course done to make the sides of 
the ship as strong as possible. The frame timbers were 
of choice Italian oak that had originally been intended 




: '"• ^"™''S''^" "•">'• -'1 I'-J lai.> under cover at 
^^r en for 30 years. They were al, grown .0 .hape, and 
— . .nches th,ck. The frames were built h, two 
cou.,s or t,ers, clo.ely wrought together, and connected 
by bolts some of which were riveted. Over each joint 
fla .ron bands were placed. The frames were about -, 
■nches (56 cm.) wide, and were placed close toijether wiih 

on y about an inch or an inch and a half bcLen; 
these ,nterst,ces were filled with pitch and sawdust, 
from he keel to a little di.stance above the watcr-line 
m order .0 keep the ship moderately water-tight, even' 
should the outer skin be clwfed tbr„u..h 

The outside planking consists of'^three layers The 
mner one is of oak, 3 inches thick, fastened with 'spikes 
and carefully calked: outside this another oak sbeat g 
4 mches, fastened with through bolts and calked 
and ou.s,de these comes the ice-skin of greenheart ch 
ke the other planking runs right down to the ke 1. I 
he water-hne ,t is 6 inches thick, gradually diminishing 
towards the bottom to 3 inches. ,t is fastened with .1 
and jagged bolts, and not with through bolts; so that i 

the hull of the sh,p would not have suffered any .rl 
damage. The lining inside the frame timbers is of pit , 

caretuliy calked once or twice. 

The total thickness of the ships sides is, therefore 
from .4 to .8 inches of solid water-tight wood. It win 





readily be understood that such a ship's side, with its 
rounded form, would of itself offer a very good resistance 
to the ice; but to make it still stronger the inside was 
shored up in every possible way, so that the hold looks 
like a cobweb of balks, stanchions, and braces. In the 
first place, there are two rows of beams, the upper deck 
and between decks, principally of solid oak, partly also 
of pitch pine; and all of these are further connected 
with each other, as well as with the sides of the ship, by 
numerous supports. The accompanying diagrams will 
show how they are arranged. The diagonal stays are. 
of course, placed as nearly as possible at right angles to 
the sides of the ship, so as to strengthen them against 
external pressure and to distribute its force. The ver- 
tical stanchions between both tiers of beams and be- 
tween the lower beams and keelson are admirably 
adapted for this latter object. All are connected to- 
gether with strong knees and iron fastenings, so that 
the whole becomes, as it were, a single coherent mass. 
It should be borne in mind that, while in former ex- 
peditions it was thought sufificient to give a couple of 
beams amidships some extra strengthening, every single 
cross beam in the Fram was stayed in the manner de- 
scribed and depicted. 

In the engine-room there was, of course, no space for 
supports in the middle, but in their place two stay ends 
were fixed on either side. The beams of the lower deck 

were placed a little under the water-line, where the ice 




i i\ 

II ■ 


pressure woild be severest. In the after-hold these 
beams had to be raised a little to give room for the 
engine. The upper deck aft, therefore, was somewhat 
higher than the main deck, and the ship h:^d a poop or 
half-deck, under which were the cabins for all the 
members of the expedition, and also the cooking-galley. 
Strong iron riders were worked in for the whole length 
of the sliip in the spaces between the beams, extending 
in one length from the clamp under the upper deck 
nearly to the keelson. The keelson was in two tiers 
and about 31 inches (80 cm.) high, save in the engine- 
room, where the height of the room only allows one tier. 
The keel consists ot two heavy American elm logs 14 
inches square ; but, as has been mentioned, so built in 
that only 3 inches protrude below the outer planking. 
The sides of the hull are rounded downward to the 
keel, so that a transverse section at the midship frame 
reminds one forcibly of half a cocoanut cut in two. The 
higher the ship is lifted out of the water, the heavier 
does she, of course, become, and the greater her press- 
ure on the ice, but for the above reason the easier also 
does it become for the ice to lift. To obviate much 
heeling, in case the hull should be lifted very high, the 
bottom was made flat, and this proved to be an excellent 
idea. I endeavored to determine experimentally the 
friction of ice against wood, and taking into account the 
strength of the ship, and the angle of her sides with the 
surface of the water, I came to the conclusion that her 



Strength must be many times sufficient to witiistanrl the 
pressure necessary to lift her. This calculation was 
amply borne out by experience. 

The principal dimensions of the ship were as fol- 
lows: Length cf keel, 102 feet; length of water-line, 
113 feet; length from stem to stern on deck. .28 feet' 
extreme breadth, 36 feet; breadth of water-line, exclusive' 
of ice -skin. 34 feet; depth, 17 feet; draught of water 
with light cargo, i2i feet; displacement with light cargo, 
530 tons; with heavy cargo the draught is over 15 f^et 
and the displacement is 800 tons ; there is a freeboard of 
about 3 feet 6 inches. The hull, with boilers filled, was 
calculated to weigh about 420 tons, and with 800 tons 
displacement there should, therefore, be spare carrying- 
power tor coal and other cargo to the amount of 380 
tons. Thus, in addition to the requisite provisions for 
dogs and men for more than five years, we could carry 
coal for four months' steaming at full speed, which was 
more than sufficient for such an expedition as this. 

As regards the rigging, the most important object was 
to have it as simple and as strong as possible, and at 
the same time so contrived as to offer the least possible 
resistance to the wind while the ship was under steam 
With our small crew it was, moreover, of the last import- 
ance that it should be easy to work from deck. For this 
reason the Fram was rigged as a three-masted fore-and- 
aft schooner. Several of our old Arctic skippers dis- 
approved of this arrangement. They had always been 

P !■ I 

5 t 



used to sail with square - rigged ships, and, with the 
conservatism peculiar to their class, were of opinion 
that what they had used was the only thing that could 
be used in the ice. However, the rig we chose was un- 
questionably the best for our purpose. In addition to 
the ordinary fore-and-aft sails we had two movable yards 
on the foremast for a square foresail and topsail. As the 
yards were attached to a sliding truss they could easily 
be hauled down when not in use. The ship's lower 
masts were tolerably high and massive. The mainmast 
was about So feet high, the maintopmast was 50 feet 
high, and the crow's-nest on the top was about 102 feet 
(32 m.) above the water. It was important to have this 
as high as possible, so as to have a more extended view 
when it came to picking our way through the ice. The 
aggregate sail area was about 6000 square feet. 

The ship's engine, a triple expansion, was made with 
particular care. The work was done at the Akers 
Mechanical Factory, and Engineer Norbeck deserves 
especial credit for its construction. With his quick 
insight he foresaw the various possibilities that might 
occur, and took precautions against them. The triple- 
expansion system was chosen as being the most econom- 
ical in the consumption of coal ; but as it might happen 
that one or other of the cylinders should get out of order, 
it was arranged, by means of separate pipes, that any of 
the cylinders could be cut off, and thus the other two, or, 
at a pinch, even one alone, could be used. In this way 




the engine, by the mere turning of a cock or two, could 
be changed at will into a compound high-pressure or 
low-pressure engine. Although nothing ever went wrong 
with any of the cylinders, this arrangement was fre- 
quently used with advantage. By using the engine as a 
compound one, we could, for instance, give the Fram 
greater speed for a short time, and when occasion de- 
manded we often took this means of forcing our way 
through the ice. The engine was of 220 indicated horse- 
power, and we could in calm weather with a liHit careo 
attain a speed of 6 or 7 knots. 

The propellers, of which we had two in reserve, were 
two-bladed, and made of cast-iron; but we never used 
either the spare propellers or a spare rudder which we 
had with us. 

Our quarters lay, as before mentioned, abaft under the 
half-deck, and were arranged so that the saloon, which 
formed our dining-room and drawing-room, was in the 
middle, surrounded on all sides by the sleeping-cabins. 
These consisted of four state-rooms with one berth apiece 
and two with four berths. The object of this arrange- 
ment was to protect the saloon from external cold ; but, 
further, the ceiling, floors, and walls were covered with 
several thick coatings of non-conducting material, the 
surface layer, in touch with the heat of the cabin, con- 
sisting of air-tight linoleum, to prevent the warm, damp 
air from penetrating to the other side and depositing 
moisture, which would soon turn to ice. The sides of 




the ship were lined with tarred felt, then came a space 
with cork padding, next a deal panelling, then a thick 
layer of felt, next air-tight linoleum, and last of all an 
inner panelling. The ceiling of the saloon and cabins 
consisted of many different layers: air, felt, deal panelling, 
reindeer-hair stuffing, deal panelling, linoleum, air and 
deal panelling, which, with the 4-inch deck planks, gave 
a total thickness of about 15 inches. To form the floor 
of the saloon, cork padding, 6 or 7 inches thick, was laid 
on the deck planks, on this a thick wooden floor, and 
above all linoleum. The skylight which was most 
exposed to the cold was protected by three panes of 
glass, one within the other, and in various other ways. 
One of the greatest difficulties^ of life on board ship 
which former Arctic expeditions had had to contend 
with was that moisture collecting on the cold outside 
walls either froze at once or ran down in streams into 
the berths and on to the floor. Thus it was not unusual 
to find the mattresses converted into more or less solid 
masses of ice. We, however, by these arrangements, 
entirely avoided such an unpleasant state of things, and 
when the fire was lighted in the saloon there was not a 
trace of moisture on the walls, even in the sleeping- 
cabins. In front of the saloon lay the cook's galley, 
on either side of which was a companion leading to the 

As a protection against the cold, each of these com- 
panion-ways was fitted with four small solid doors con- 




sisting of several layers of wood with felt between, all 
of which had to be passed through on going out. And 
the more completely to exclude the cold air the thresholds 
of the doors were made more than ordinarily high. On 
the half-deck over the cook's galley, between the main- 
mast and the funnel, was a chart-room facing the bow, 
and a smaller work-room abaft. 

In order to secure the safety of the ship in case of a 
leak, the hold was divided into three compartments by 
water-tight bulkheads. Besides the usual pumps, we had 
a powerful centrifugal pump driven by the engine, which 
could be connected with each of the three compartments. 
It may be mentioned as an improvement on former expe- 
ditions that the jFram was furnished with an electric 
light installation. The dynamo was to be driven by the 
engine while we were under steam ; while the intention 
was to drive it partly by means of the wind, partly by 
hand power, during our sojourn in the ice. For this 
purpose we took a windmill with us, and also a " horse- 
mill " to be worked by ourselves. I had anticipated that 
this latter might have been useful in giving us exercise 
in the long polar night. We found, however, that there 
were plenty of other things to do, and we never used it; 
on the other hand, the windmill proved extremely ser- 
viceable. For illumination when we might not have 
enough power to produce electric light, we took with us 
about 16 tons of petroleum, which was also intended for 
cooking purposes a v' for warming the cabins. This 





petroleum, as well as 20 tons of common kerosene * in- 
tended to be used along with coal in the boiler, was stored 
m massive iron tanks, eight of which were in the hold 
and one on deck. In all, the ship had eight boats, two 
of which were especially large, 29 feet long and 9 feet 
wide. These were intended for use in case the ship 
should, after all, be lost, the idea being that we should 
live in them while drifting in the ice. They were large 
enough to accommodate the whole ship's company with 
provisions for many months. Then there were four 
smaller boats of the form sealers generally use. They 
were exceedingly strong and lightly built, two of oak and 
two of elm. The seventh boat was a small pram, and the 
eighth a launch with a petroleum engine, which, however, 
was not very serviceable, and caused us a great deal of 

x^s I shall have frequent occasion later on to speak of 
other details of our equipment, I shall content myself 
here with mentioning a few of the most important. 

Special attention was, of course, devoted to our com- 
missariat with a view to obviating the danger of scurvy 
and other ailments. The principle on which I acted in 


This 0.1, by means of a specially constructed steam-jet apparatus was 
injected mto the furnaces in the form of a spray, where it burned in a 
very and saving manner, giving forth a great amount of heat 
The apparatus was one which has been apphed to locomotives in England 
whence .t was procured. It appeared, however, that it tended to overhead 
the bo.ler at one particular point, where it made a den, so that we soon 
abandoned this method of firing. 



the choice of provisions was to combine variety with 
wholesomeness. Every single article of food was chem- 
ically analyzed before being adopted, and great care was 
taken that it should be properly packed. Such articles, 
even, as bread, dried vegetables, etc., etc., were soldered 
down in tins as a protection against damp. 

A good library was of great importance to an expedi- 
tion like ours, and thanks to publishers and friends, both 
in our own and in other countries, we were very well sup- 
plied in this respect. 

The instruments for taking scientific observations of 
course formed an important part of our equipment, and 
special care was bestowed upon them. In addition to 
the collection of instruments I had used on my Green- 
land expedition, a great many new ones were provided, 
and no pains were spared to get them as good and com- 
plete as possible. For meteorological observations, in ad- 
dition to the ordinary thermometers, barometers, ane- 
roids, psychrometers, hygrometers, anemometers, etc., 
etc., self -registering instruments were also taken. Of 
special importance were a self-registering aneroid barom- 
eter (barograph) and a pair of self-registering thermom- 
eters (thermographs). For astronomical observations we 
had a large theodolite and two smaller ones, intended 
for use on sledge expeditions, together with several sex- 
tants of different sizes. We had, moreover, four ship's 
chronometers and several pocket -chronometers. For 
magnetic observations, for taking the declination, inch- 


■* **i* ;»^ui>4. • , 






nation, and intensity (both horizontal and total intensity) 
we had a complete set of instruments. Among others 
may be mentioned a spectroscope especially adapted for 
the northern lights, an electroscope for determining the 
amount of electricity in the air, photographic apparatus- 
es, of which we had seven, large and small, and a photo- 
graphometer for making charts. I considered a pendu- 
lum apparatus with its adjuncts to be of special impor- 
tance to enable us to make pendulum experiments in the 
far north. To do this, however, land was necessary, and. 
as we did not find any, this instrument unfortunately did 
not come into use. For hydrographic observations we 
took a full equipment of water-samplers, deep-water ther- 
mometers, etc. To ascertain the saltness of the water, we 
had, in addition to the ordinary areometers, an electric 
apparatus specially constructed by Mr. Thornoe. Alto- 
gether, our scientific equipment was especially excellent, 
thanks in great measure to the obliging assistance ren- 
dered me by many men of science. I would take this 
opportunity of tendering my special thanks to Professor 
Mohn, who. besides seeing to the meteorological instru- 
ments, helped me in many other ways with his valuable 
advice; to Professor Geelmuyden. who undertook the 
supervision of the astronomical instruments; to Dr. Neu- 
meyer, of Hamburg, who took charge of the magnetic 
equipment; and to Professor Otto Petterson, of Stock- 
holm, and Mr. Thornoe, of Christiania, both of whom 
superintended the hydrographic department. Of no less 



importance were the physiologico-medicinal preparations, 
to which Professor Toriip devoted particular care. 

As it mifrht be of the utmost importance in several 
contingencies to have good sledge-dogs, I applied to my 
friend, Baron Edward von Toll, of St. Petersburg, and 
asked him whether it was possible to procure serviceable 
animals from Siberia.* With great courtesy Von Toll 
replied that he thought he himself could arrange this for 
me, as he was just on the point of undertaking his sec- 
ond scientific expedition to Siberia and the New Siberian 
Islands. He proposed to send the dogs to Khabarova, 
on Yugor Strait. On his journey through Tiumen in 
January, 1893, by the help of an English merchant 
named Wardroper, who resided there, he engaged Alex- 
ander Ivanovitch Trontheim to undertake the purchase 
of thirty Ostiak dogs and their conveyance to Yugor 
Strait. But Von Toll was not content with this. Mr. 
Nikolai Kelch having offered to bear the expense, my 
friend procured the East Siberian dogs, which are ac- 
knowledged to be better draught dogs than those of 
West Siberia (Ostiak dogs), and Johan Torgersen, a 
Norwegian, undertook to deliver them at the mouth of 
the Olenek, where it was arranged that we should touch. 
Von Toll, moreover, thought it would be important to 
establish some depots of provisions on the New Siberian 

* I had thought of procuring dogs from the Eskimo of Greenland and 
Hudson Bay, but there proved to be insuperable difficulties in the way of 
getting them conveyed from there. 



Islands, in case the Fram should meet with disaster and 
the expedition should be obliged to return home that 
way. On Von Toll's mentioning this, Kelch at once 
expressed himself willing to bear the cost, as he wished 
us in that event to meet with Siberian hospitality even 
on the New Siberian Islands. As it was difficult to 
find trustworthy agents to carry out a task involving 
so much responsibility, Von Toll determined to establish 
the depots himself, and in May, 1893, he set out on an 
adventurous and highly interesting journey from the 
mainland over the ice to the New Siberian Islands, 
where, besides laying down three depots for us,* he 
made some very important geological researches. 

Another important matter, I thought, was to have a 
cargo of coal seht out as far as possible on our route, so 
that when we broke off all connection with the rest 
of the world we should have on board the Fram as 
much coal as she could carry. I therefore joyfully ac- 
cepted an ofTer from an Englishman, who was to accom- 
pany us with his steam-yacht to Novaya Zemlya or the 

* These depots were arranged most carefully, and every precaution so 
well taken that we certainly should not have suflfered from famine had we 
gone there. In the northernmost depot at Stan Durnova on the west 
coast of Kotelnoi, at 75° 37' N. L., we should have found provisions for a 
week : with these we could easily have made our way 65 miles southward 
along the coast to the second depot at Urassalach. where, in a house built 
by Baron Von Toll in 1886, we should have found provisions for a whole 
month. Lastly, a third depot in a house on the south side of Little Liak- 
hofT Island, with provisions for two months, would have enabled us to 
reach the mainland with ease. 


h?^ »-^* rt^-.. 


Kara Sea and give us 100 tons of coal on parting com- 
pany. As our dejjarture was drawing nigh I learnt, how- 
ever, that other arrangements had been made. It being 
now too late to take any other measures, I chartered 
the sloop Urania, of Bronosund, in Nordland. to bring 
a cargo of coals to Khabarova, on i .e Yugor Strait. 

No sooner did the plan of my expedition become 
known than petitions poured in by the hundred from 
all quarters of the earth-from Europe, America, Aus- 
tralia—from persons who wished to take part in it, in 
spite of the many warning voices that had been raised. 
It was no easy thing to choose among all the brave men 
who applied. As a matter of course, it was absolutely 
essential that every man should be strong and healthy, 
and not one was finally accepted till he had been care^ 
fully examined by Professor Hialmar Heiberg, of Chris- 

The following is a list of the members of the expe- 
dition : 

Oiio Neumann Sverdrup, commander of the Fram, 
was born in Bindal, in Helgeland, 1855. At the age of 
seventeen he went to sea, passed his mate's examination 
111 1878, and for some years was captain of a ship. In 
1888-89 he took part in the Greenland expedition. As 
soon as he heard of :he plan of the polar expedition he 
expressed his desire to accompany it, and I knew that 
I could not place the Fram in better hands. He is 
married, and has one child. 



1.1 • 



Sigurd Scott-HanscH, first lieutenant in the navy, un- 
dertook the management of the meteorological, astro- 
nomical, and magnetic observations. He was born in 
Christiania in 1868. After passing through the naval 
school at Horten, he became an oflRcer in 1889, and 
first lieutenant in 1892. He is a son of Andreas Han- 
sen, parish priest in Christiania. 

Hmrik Greve Blessmg, doctor and botanist to the 
expedition, was born in Drammen in 1866, where his 
father was at that time a clergyman. He became a 
student in 1885, and graduated in medicine in the spring 
of 1893. ^ ^ 

Theodore Claudius Jacobsen, mate of the Fram, was 
born at Tromso in 1855, where his father was a ship's 
captain, afterwards harbor- master and head pilot. At 
the age of fifteen he went to sea, and passed his mate's 
examination four years later. He spent two years in 
New Zealand, and from 18S6-90 he went on voyages to 
the Arctic Sea as skipper of a Tromso sloop. He is 
married, and has one child. 

Anton Amundsen, chief engineer of the Fram, was 
born at Horten in 1853. In 1884 he passed his tech- 
nical examination, and soon afterwards his engineer's 
examination. For twenty-five years he has been in the 
navy, where he attained the rank of chief engineer. He 
is married, and has six children. 

Adolf Juell, steward and cook of the Fram. was born 
in the parish of Skato, near Kragero, in i860. His 




father, Cl.ius Nielsen, was a farmer and ship-owner. In 
I.S79 he passed his mates examination, and has been 
captain of a ship many years. He is married, and lias 
four children. 

Lars Pettcrsen, second engineer of the Frani, was 
born in i860, at Horre, near Landskrona, in Sweden, of 
Norwegian parents. He is a fully qualified smith and 
machinist, in which capacity he has served in the Nor- 
wegian navy for several years. Is married, and has 

Frcderik Hjalmar Johansen, lieutenant in the Re- 
serve, was born at Skien in 1867, and matriculated at 
the University in 1886. In 1891-92 he went to the 
Military School and became a supernumerary officer. 
He was so eager to take part in the expedition that, as 
no other post could be found for him, he accepted that 
of stoker. 

PcUr Leonard Hcnriksen, harpooner, was born in 
Balsfjord, near Tromso, in 1859. From childhood he 
has been a sailor, and from fourteen years old has gone 
on voyages to the Arctic Sea as harpooner and skipper. 
In 1888 he was shipwrecked off Novaya Zemlya in the 
sloop E7iighcdcnAxon\ Christiansund. He is married, 
and has four children. 

Bcrnhard Nordahl was born in Christiania in 1862. 
At the age of fourteen he entered the navy, and ad- 
vanced to be. a gunner. Subsequently he has done a 
little of everything, and, among other things, has worked 






as an electrical engineer. He had charge of the dynamo 
and electric installation on board, acted, moreover, as 
stoker, and for a time assisted in the meteorological ob- 
servations. He is married, and has five children. 

Ivar Otto Irgens Mogstad vas born at Aure, in 
Nordmore, in 1856. In 1877 passed his examination as 
first assistant, and from 1882 onward was one of the 
head keepers at the Gaustad Lunatic Asylum, 

Bemt Bcntzen, born in i860, went to sea for several 
years. In 1890 he passed his mate's examination, since 
which he has sailed as mate in several voyages to the 
Arctic Sea. We engaged him at Tromso, just as we 
were starting. It was 8.30 when he came on board to 
speak to me, and at 10 o'clock the Fram set sail. 

I -i. 





" So travel I north to the gloomy abode 
That the sun never shines on — 
There is no day." 

It was midi.ummer day. A dull, gloomy day; and 
with it came the inevitable leave-taking. The door closed 
behind me. For the last time I left my home and went 
alone down the garden to the beach, where the Frmns 
little petroleum launch pitilessly awaited me. Behind 
me lay all I held dear in life. And what before me.? 
How many years would pass ere I should see it all again.? 
What would I not have given at that moment to be able 
to turn back ; but up at the window little Liv was sitting 
clapping her hands. Happy child, little do you know 
what life is — how strangely mingled and how full of 
change. Like an arrow the little boat sped over Lysaker 
Bay, bearing me on the first stage of a journey on which 
life itself, if not more, was staked. 

At last everything was in readiness. The hour had 
arrived towards which the persevering labor of years 
had been incessantly bent, and with it the feeling that, 
everything being provided and ccmpleted, responsibility 

I ' ! 



If . 




might be thrown aside and the weary brain at last find 
rest. The Fram lies yonder at Pepperviken, impatiently 
panting and waiting for the signal, when the launch 
comes puflfing past Dyna and runs alongside. The deck 
is closely packed with people come to bid a last farewell, 
and now all must leave the ship. Then the Fram weighs 
anchor, and, heavily laden and moving slowly, makes the 
tour of the little creek. The quays are black with 
crowds of people waving their hats and handkerchiefs. 
But silently and quietly the Fram heads tov/ards the 
fjord, steers slowly past Bygdo and Dyna out on her 
unknown path, while little nimble craft, steamers, and 
pleasure-boats swarm around her. Peaceful and snuo- 
lay the villas along the shore behind their veils of foliage, 
just as they ever seemed of old. Ah, "fair is the wood- 
land slope, and never did it look fairer!" Lono- lono- 
will it be before we shall plough these well-kno\/n waters 

And now a last farewell to home. Yonder it lies on 
the point — the fjord sparkling in front, pine and fir 
woods around, a little smiling meadow- land and loner 
wood-clad ridges behind. Through the glass one could 
descry a summer-clad figure by the bench under the fir- 
tree. ... 

It was the darkest hour of the whole journey. 

And now out into the fjord. It was rainy weather, 
and a feeling of melancholy seemed to brood over the 
familiar landscape with all its memories. 




It was not until noon next day (June 25th) that the 
Fram glided into the bay by Raekvik, Archer's ship- 
yard, near Laurvik, where her cradle stood, and where 
many a golden dream had been dreamt of her vic- 
torious career. Here we were to take the two loner- 
boats on board and have them set up on their davits, 
and there were several other things to be shipped. It 
took the whole day and a good part of the next before 
all was completed. About three o'clock on the 26th we 
bade farewell to Raekvik and made a bend into Laurvik 
Bay, in order to stand out to sea by Frederiksvccrn. 
Archer himself had to take the wheel and steer his child 
this last bit before leaving the ship. And then came 
the farewell hand-shake ; but few words were spoken, and 
they got into the boat, he, my brothers, and a friend, 
while the Fram glided ahead with her heavy motion, 
and the bonds that united us were severed. It was sad 
and strange to see this last relic of home in that little 
skiff on the wide blue surface. Anker's cutter behind, 
and Laurvik farther in the distance. I almost think a 
tear glittered on that fine old face as he stood erect in 
the boat and shouted a farewell to us and to the Fram. 
Do you think he does not love the vessel? That he 
believes in her I know well. So we gave him the first 
salute from the Fram's guns — a worthier inauguration 
they could not well have had. 

Full speed ahead, and in the calm, bright summer 
weather, while the setting sun shed his beams over the 





i . 



W 1 

■I. i. 

! % I ". i 


land, the Fram stood out towards the blue sea, to set 
its first roll in the long, heaving swell. They stood up 
in the boat and watched us for Ions. 

We bore along the coast in good weather, past 
Christiansand. The next evening, June 27th, we were 
off the Naze. I sat up and chatted with Scott- Hansen 
till late in the night. He acted as captain on the trip 
from Christiania to Trondhjem, where Sverdrup was to 
join, after having accompanied his family to Steenki^er. 
As we sat there in the chart-house and let the hours slip 
by while we pushed on in the ever-increasing swell, all at 
once a sea burst open the door and poured in. We 
rushed out on deck. The ship rolled like a log, the seas 
broke in over the rails on both sides, and one by one up 
came all the crew. I feared most lest the slender davits 
which supported the long-boats should give way, and the 
boats themselves should go overboard, perhaps carrying 
away with them a lot of the rigging. Then twenty-five 
empty paraffin casks which were lashed on deck broke 
loose, washed backward and forward, and gradually filled 
with water; so that the outlook was not altogether 
agreeable. But it was worst of all when the piles of 
reserve timber, spars, and planks began the same dance, 
and threatened to break the props under the boats. It 
was an anxious hour. Sea-sick, I stood on the bridge, 
occupying myself in alternately making libations to Nep- 
tune and trembling for the safety of the boats and the 
men, who were trying to make snug what they could for- 






{From It fliotograf-lt titkeii in December, ISflS) 



'l' j 

(1 ' 

; |{ 








ward on deck. I often saw only a hotch-potch of sea, 
drifting planks, arms, legs, and empty barrels. Now a 
green sea poured over us and knocked a man off his legs 
so that the water deluged him ; now I saw the lads jump- 
ing over hurtling spars and barrels, so as not to get their 
feet crushed between them. There was not a dry thread 
on them. Juell, who lay asleep in the " Grand Hotel," as 
we called one of the long-boats, awoke to hear the sea 
roaring under him like a cataract. I met him at the 
cabin door as he came running down. It was no longer 
safe there, he thought; best to save one's rags— he had a 
bundle under his arm. Then he set off forward to secure 
his sea-chest, which was floating about on the fore-deck, 
and dragged it hurriedly aft, while one heavy sea after 
another swept over him. Once the Fram buried her 
bows and shipped a sea over the forecastle. There was 
one fellow clinging to the anchor-davits over the frothino- 
water. It was poor Juell again. We were hard put to it 
to secure our goods and chattels. We had to throw all 
our good paraffin casks overboard, and one prime timber 
balk after another went the same way, while I stood and 
watched them sadly as they floated off. The rest of the 
deck cargo was shifted aft on to the half-deck. I am 
afraid the shares in the expedition stood rather low at 
this moment. Then all at once, when things were about 
at their worst with us, we sighted a bark looming out of 
the fog ahead. There it lay with royals and all sails set, 
as snugly and peacefully as if nothing were the matter, 





rocking gently on the sea. It made one feel almost sav- 
age to look at it. Visions of the F/ym^ Diiichman and 
other devilry flashed through my mind. 

Terrible disaster in the cook's galley! Mogstad goes 
in and sees the whole wall sprinkled over with dark-red 
stains— rushes off to Nordahl, and says he believes Juell 
has shot himself through despair at the insufferable heat 
he complains so about. "Great revolver disaster on 
board the Fram! . . ." On close inspection, however, 
the stains appeared to proceed from a box of chocolate 
that had upset in the cupboard. 

Owing to the fog we dared not go too near land, so 
kept out to sea, till at last, towards morning, the fog lifted 
somewhat, and the pilot found his bearings between Far- 
sund and Hummerdus. We put into Lister Fjord, in- 
tending to anchor there and get into better sea trim; 
but as the weather improved we went on our way. It 
was not till the afternoon that we steered into Ekersund, 
owing to thick weather and a stiff breeze, and anchored in 
Hovland's Bay, where our pilot, Hovland,* lived. Next 
morning the boat davits, etc., were put in good work- 
ing order. The Fram, however, was too heavily laden to 
be at all easy in a seaway ; but this we could not alter. 
What we had we must keep, and if we only got every- 

^ * Both Hovland. who piloted us from Christiania to Hersen.and Johan 
Hagensen, who took us from Bergen to Vardo, were most kindly placed 
at the disposal of the expedition by the Nordenfjeldske Steamship Com- 
pany, of Trondhjem. 








(From a />/iotogi;i/'k taken in December, tfi!),')) 


'' m 1 

p, I 



'. " ! 





thing on deck shipshape and properly lashed, the sea 
could not do us much harm, however rough it mighl '>e; 
for we knew well enough that ship and rigging would 
hold out. 

It was late in the evening of the last day of June 
when we rounded Kvarven and stood in for Bergen in 
the gloom of the sullen night. Next morning when I 
came on deck Vagen lay clear and bright in the sun, 
all the ships being gayly decked out with bunting from 
topmost to deck. The sun was holding high festival in 
the sky — Ulriken, Floiren, and Lovstakken sparkled and 
glittered, and greeted me as of old. It is a marvellous 
place, that old Hanseatic town ! 

In the evening I was to give a lecture, but arrived 
half an hour too late. For just as I was dressing to go 
a number of bills poured in, and if I was to leave the 
town as a solvent man I must needs pay them, and so 
the public perforce had to wait. But the worst of it was 
that the saloon was full of those everlastingly inquisitive 
tourists. I could hear a whole company of them besieg- 
ing my cabin door while I was dressing, declaring " they 
must shake hands with the doctor!"* One of them act- 
ually peeped in through the ventilator at me, my secre- 
tary told me afterwards. A nice sight she must have 
seen, the lovely creature ! Report says she drew her 
head back very quickly. Indeed, at every place where we 


i ' 


* English in the original. 



J ' 

put in we were looked on somewhat as wild animals in a 
menagerie. I'^or they peeped unceremoniously at us in 
our berths as if we had been bears and lions in a <\c\\ 
and we could hear them loudly disputing among them- 
selves as to who was who, and whether those nearest and 
dearest to us whose portraits hung on the walls could be 
called pretty or not. When I had finished my toilette I 
opened the door cautiously and made a rush through the 
gaping company. "There he is — there he is!"* they 
called to each other as they tumbled uj) the steps after 
me. It was no use; I was on the quay and in the car- 
riage long before they had reached the deck. 

At 8 o'clock there was a great banquet, many fine 
speeches, good fare and excellent wine, pretty ladies, 
music, and dancing till far into the night. 

Next morning at ii o'clock — it was Sunday — in 
bright, sunshiny weather, we stood northward over Ikrgen 
Fjord, many friends accompanying us. It was a lovely, 
never-to-be-forgotten summer day. In Herlo I*"jord, right 
out by the skerries, they parted from us, amid waxings of 
hats and pocket-handkerchiefs ; we could see the little 
harbor boat for a long while with its black cloud of smoke 
on the sparkling surface of the water. Outside, the sea 
rolled in the hazy sunlight ; and within lay the flat Man- 
gerland, full of memories for me of zoological investiga- 
tions in fair weather and foul, years and years ago. Here 

* Englisli in the original. 

\ > 








- *■ w .%i fth*.,. 1 -.1 t *■ 








w ' 




it was that one of Norway's most famous naturalists, a 
lonely pastor far removed from the outer world, made his 
great discoveries. Here I myself first groped my way 
along the narrow path of zoological research. 

It was a wondrous evening. The lingering flush of 
vanished day suffused the northern sky, while the moon 
hung large and round over the mountains behind us. 
Ahead lay Alden and Kinn, like a fairyland rising up 
from the sea. Tired as I was, I could not seek my berth ; 
I must drink in all this loveliness in deep refreshing 
draughts. It was like balm to the soul after all the tur- 
moil and friction with crowds of strangers. 

So we went on our way, mostly in fair weather, occa- 
sionally in fog and rain, through sounds and between 
islands, northward along the cost of Norway. A o-lorious 
land — I wonder if another fairway like this is to be found 
the whole world over.^ Those never-to-be-forgotten 
mornings, when nature wakens to life, wreaths of mist 
glittering like silver over the mountains, their tops soar- 
ing above the mist like islands of the sea ! Then the day 
gleaming over the dazzling white snow-peaks ! And the 
evenings, and the sunsets with the pale moon overhead, 
white mountains and islands lay hushed and dreamlike as 
a youthful longing ! Here and there past homely little 
havens with houses around them set in smilino- o-reen 
trees ! Ah ! those snug homes in the lee of the skerries 
awake a longing for life and warmth in the breast. You 
may shrug your shoulders as much as you like at the 



ir ( 







beauties of nature, but it is a fine thing for a people to 
have a fair land, be it never so poor. Never did this seem 
clearer to me than now when I was leaving it. 

Every now and then a hurrah from land — at one 
time from a troop of children, at another from srown- 
up people, but mostly from wondering peasants who 
gaze long at the strange-looking ship and muse over its 
enigmatic destination. And men and women on board 
sloops and ten-oared boats stand up in their red shirts 
that glow in the sunlight, and rest on their oars to look 
at us. Steamboats crowded with people came out from 
the towns we passed to greet us, and bid us God-speed 
on our way with music, songs, and cannon salutes. The 
great tourist steamboats dipped flags to us and fired 
salutes, and the smaller craft did the same. It is em- 
barrassing and oppressive to be the object of homage 
like this before anything has been accomplished. There 
is an old saying : 

M ■ 


:1 ., 

"At eve the day shall be praised, 
The wife when she is burnt, 
The sword when tried. 
The woman when married, 
The ice when passed over. 
Ale when drunk." 

Most touching was the interest and sympathy with which 
these poor fisher-folk and peasants greeted us. It often 
set me wondering. I felt they followed us with fervent 
eagerness. I remember one day— it was north in Hel- 
geland — an old woman was standing waving and waving 

nil \ 



to us on a bare crag. Her cottage lay some distance 
inland. " I wonder if it can really be us she is wav- 
ing to," I said to the pilot, who was standing beside 
me. " You may be sure it is," was the answer. " But 
how can she know who we are .?" " Oh ! they know all 
about the Fram up here, in every cabin, and they will 
be on the lookout for you as you come back, I can tell 
you," he answered. Aye, truly, it is a responsible task 
we are undertaking, when the whole nation are with us 
like this. What if the thing should turn out a huse 
disappointment ! 

In the evening I would sit and look around — lonely 
huts lay scattered here and there on points and islets. 
Here the Norwegian people wear out their lives in the 
struggle with the rocks, in the struggle with the sea ; 
and it is this people that is sending us out into the great 
hazardous unknown; the very folk who stand there in 
their fishing-boats and look wonderingly after the Fj'am 
as she slow.y and heavily steams along on her northward 
course. Many of them wave their sou'-westers and shout 
" Hurrah !" Others have barely time to gape at us in 
wonderment. In on the point are a troop of women wav- 
ing and shouting; outside a few boats with ladies in light 
summer-dresses, and gentlemen at the oars entertaining 
them with small-talk as they wave their parasols and 
pocket-handkerchiefs. Yes; it is they who are sending 
us out. It is not a cheering thought. Not one of them, 
probably, knows what they are paying their money for. 

W' ci» 




Maybe they have heard it is a glorious enterprise ; but 
why? To what end? Are we not defraudincr them? 
But their eyes are riveted on the ship, and perhaps there 
dawns before their minds a momentary vision of a new 
and inconceivable world, with aspirations after a some- 
thing of which they know naught. . . . And here on 
board are men who are leaving wife and children behind 
them. How sad has been the separation ! what lono-ino- 
what yearning, await them in the coming years !. And it 
is not for profit they do it. For honor and glory then ? 
These may be scant enough. It is the same thirst for 
achievement, the same craving to get beyond the limits 
of the known, which inspired this people in the Sacra 
times that is stirring in them c^gain to-day. In spite of 
all our toil for subsistence, in spite of all our " peasant 
politics," sheer utilitarianism is perhaps not so dominant 
among us, after all. 

As time was precious I did not, as originally intended, 
put in at 7>ondhjem, but stopped at Beian, where Sver- 
drup joined us. Here Professor Brogger also came on 
board, to accompany us as far as Tromsb. 

Here, too, our doctor received three monstrous chests 
with the medicine supply, a gift from Apothecary Bruun, 
of Trondhjem. 

And so on towards the north, along the lovely coast 
of Nordland. We stopped at one or two j^laces to take 
dried fish on board as provision for the dogs. Past 
Torghatten, the Seven Sisters, and Hestemanden ; past 




'From a filiotograpli taken in isnS) 


Kf y 

M? 'V 

M I 



Lovunen and Traenen, far out yonder in the sea ; past 
Lofoten and all the other lovely places — each bold gigan- 
tic form wilder and more beautiful than the 'last. It is 
unique — a fairyland — a land of dreams. We felt afraid 
to go on too fast, for fear of missing something. 

On July 1 2th we arrived at Tromso, where we were to 
take in coal and other things, such as reindeer cloaks, 
" komager " ( a sort of Lapp moccasin ), Finn shoes, 
" senne " grass, dried reindeer flesh, etc., etc., all of which 
had been procured by that indefatigable friend of the ex- 
pedition, Advocate Mack. Tromso gave us a cold recep- 
tion — a northwesterly gale, with driving snow and sleet. 
Mountains, plains, and house-roofs were all covered with 
snow down to the water's edge. It was the very bitter- 
est July day I ever experienced. The people there said 
they could not remember such a July. Perhaps they 
were afraid the place would come into disrepute, for in 
a town where they hold snow-shoe races on Midsummer 
Day one may be prepared for anything in the way of 

In Tromso the next day a new member of the expe- 
dition was engaged, '^eint Bentzen — a stout fellow to 
look at. He originally intended accompanying us only 
as far as Yugor Strait, but as a matter of fact he went 
the whole voyage with us, and proved a great acquisi- 
tion, being not only a capital seaman, but a cheerful and 
amusing comrade. 

After a stay of two days we again set out. On the 

'i ( 



t '-■ 

k I 

nio-ht of the 1 6th, east „f the North Cape or IMagero, we 
met with such a nasty sea, and shipped so much water 
on deck, that we put into Kjcillefjord to adjust our cargo 
better by shifting the coal and making a few othtr 
changes. We worked at this the whole of two days, and 
made everything clear for the voyage to Novaya Zemlya. 
I iiad at first thought of taking on board a fresh supply 
of coal at Vardo, but as we were already deeply laden, 
and the Urania was to meet us at Yugor Strait with 
coal, we thought it best to be contented with what we 
had already got on board, as we might expect bad weath- 
er in crossing the White Sea and Barents Sea. At ten 
o'clock in the evening we weighed anchor, and reached 
Vardo next evening, where we met with a magnificent 
reception. There was a band of music on the pier, the 
fjord teemed with boats, fiags waved on every hand, and 
salutes were fired. The people had been waiting for us 
ever since the previous evening, we were told— some of 
them, indeed, coming from Vadso— and they had seized 
the opportunity to get up a subscription to provide a big 
drum for the town band, the " North Pole." And here 
we were entertained at a sumptuous banquet, with 
speeches, and champagne flowing in streams, ere we 
bade Norway our last farewell. 

The last thing that had now to be done for the Frnm 
was to have her bottom cleaned of mussels and weeds, 
so that she might be able to make the best speed possi- 
ble. This work was done by divers, who were readily 




placci at our service by the local inspector of the Gov- 
ernment Harbor Department. 

But our own bodies also claimed one last civilized 
feast of purification before entering on a life of savagery. 
The bath-house of the town is a small timber building. 
The bath-room itself is low, and provided with shelves 
where you lie down and arc parboiled with hot steam, 
which is constantly kept up by water being thrown on 
the glowing hot stones of an awful oven, worthy of hell 
itself; while all the time young qucLMi (lasses) flog you 
with birch twigs. After that you are rubbed down, 
washed, and dried delightfully — everything being well 
managed, clean, and comfortable. I wonder whether old 
Father Mahomet has set up a bath like this in his para- 



' H 


.. . : i i 



I FELT in a strange mood as I sat up the last night 
writing letters and telegrams. We had bidden farewell 
to our excellent pilot, Johan Hagensen, who had piloted 
us from Bergen, and now we were only the thirteen 
members of the expedition, together with my secretary, 
Christofersen, who had accompanied us so far, and was 
to go on with us as far as Yugor Strait. Everything 
was so calm and still, save for the scraping of the pen 
that was sending off a farewell to friends at home. 
All the men were asleep below. 

The last telegram was written, and I sent my secie- 
tary ashore with it. It was 3 o'clock in the morning 
when he returned, and I called Sverdrup up, and one or 
two others. We weighed anchor, and stood out of the 
harbor in the silence of the morning. The town still 
lay wrapped in sleep; everything looked so peaceful and 
lovely all around, with the exception of a little stir of 
awakening toil on board one single steamer in the har- 
bor. A sleepy fisherman stuck his head up out of the 
half-deck of his ten-oared boat, ^nd stared at us as we 



Steamed past the breakwater; and 011 the revenue cutter 
outside there was a man fishing in that early mornin"- 

This last impression of Norway was just the right one 
for us to carry away with us. Such beneficent peace 
and calm ; such a rest for the thoughts ; no hubbub and 
turmoil of people with their hurrahs and salutes. The 
masts in the harbor, the house-roofs, and chimneys stood 
out against the ccol morning sky. Just then the sun 

broke through the mist and smiled over the shore 

rugged, bare, and weather-worn in the hi.zy morning, 
but still lovely— dotted here and there with tiny houses 
and boats, and all Norway lay behind it. . . . 

While the Fram was slowly and quietly v/orking her 
way out to sea, towards our distant goal, I stood and 
watched the land gradually fading away on the horizon. 
I wonder what will happen to her and to us before we 
again see Norway rising up over the sea } 

But a fog soon came on and obscured everything. 

And through fog, nothing but fog, we steamed away 
for four days without stopping, until, when I came on 
deck on the morning of the 25th of July, behold clear 
weather ! The sun was shining in a cloudless sky, the 
bright blue sea was heaving with a gentle swell. Again 
it was good to be a living being, and to drink in the peace- 
fulness of the sea in long draughts. Towards noon we 
sighted Goose Land on Novaya Zemlya, and stood in 
towards it. Guns and cartridges were got ready, and we 

I- 'I 

H*^ I 



looked forward with joyful anticipation to roast goose and 
other game ; but we had gone but a short distance when 
tlie gray woolly fog from the southeast came up and 
enveloped us. Again we were shut off from the world 
around us. It was scarcely prudent to make for land, 
so we set our course eastward towards Yugor Strait; 
but a head -wind soon compelled us to beat uj) under 
steam and sail, which we went on doing for a couple 
of days, plunged in a world of fog. Ugh ! that endless, 
stubborn fog of the Arctic Sea! When it lowers its 
curtain, and shuts out the blue above and the blue below, 
and everything becomes a damp gray mist, day in and 
day out, then all the vigor and elasticity of the soul is 
needed to save one from being stifled in its clammy 
embrace. Fog, and nothing but fog, wherever we turn 
our eyes. It condenses on the rigging and drips down 
on every tiniest spot on deck. It lodges on your clothes, 
and finally wets you through and through. It settles 
down on the mind and spirits, and everything becomes 
one uniform gray. 

On the evening of July 27th, while still fog-bound, we 
quite unexpectedly met with ice; a mere strip, indeed, 
which we easily passed through, but it boded ill. In 
the night we met with more — a broader strip this time, 
which also we passed through. Hut next morning I was 
called up with the information that there was thick, old 
ice ahead. Well, if ice difficulties were to begin so soon, 
it would be a bad lookout indeed. Such are the chill 

i f I 


^ ^ 
% S 

? C 



~ ^9 





surprises that the Arctic Sea has more than enough of. 
I dressed and was up in the crow's-nest in a twinkhng. 
The ice lay extended everywhere, as far as the eye could 
reach through the fog, which had lifted a little. There 
was no small quantity of ice, but it was tolerably open, 
and there was nothing for it but to be true to our watch- 
word and "ga fram" — push onward. For a. good while 
we picked our way. But now it began to lie closer, with 
large floes every here and there, and at the same time 
the fog grew denser, and we could not see our way at 
all. To go ahead in difficult ice and in a fog is not very 
prudent, for it is impossible to tell just where you are 
going, and you are apt to be set fast before you know 
where you are. So we had to stop and wait. But still 
the fog grew ever denser, while the ice did the same. 
Our hopes meanwhile rose and fell, but mostly the latter, 
I think. To encounter so much ice already in these 
waters, where at this time of year the sea is, as a rule, 
quite free from it, boded anything but good. Already 
at Tromso and Vardo we had heard bad news ; the 
White Sea, they said, had only been clear of ice a very 
short time, and a boat that had tried to reach Yusfor 
Strait had had to turn back because of the ice. Neither 
were our anticipations of the Kara Sea altogether cheer- 
ful. What might we not expect there } For the Urania^ 
with our coals, too, this ice was a bad business; for it would 
be unable to make its way through unless it had found 
navigable water farther south along the Russian coast. 




■t t 

^1 I 



Just as our prospects were at their darkest, and we 
were preparing to seek a way back out of the ice, which 
kept getting ever denser, the joyful tidings came that 
the fog was lifting, and that clear water was visible 
ahead to the east on the other side of the ice. After 
forcing our way ahead for some hours between the 
heavy floes, we were once more in open water. This 
first bout with the ice, however, showed us plainly what 
an excellent ice-boat the Fram was. It was a royal 
pleasure to work her ahead through difficult ice. She 
twisted and turned "like a ball on a platter." No 
channel between the floes so winding and awkward 
but she could get through it. But it is hard work 
for the helmsman. " Hard asfarboard ! Hard aport ! 
Steady! Hard astarboard again!" goes on incessantly 
without so much as a breathing-space. And he rattles 
the wheel round, the sweat pours off him, and round 
it goes again like a spinning-wheel. And the ship 
swings round and wriggles her way forward among the 
floes without touching, if there is only just an open- 
ing wide enough for her to slip through ; and where 
there is none she drives full tilt at the ice, with 
her heavy plunge, runs her sloping bows up on it, 
treads it under her, and bursts the floes asunder. 
And how strong she is too! Even when she o-ocs 
full speed at a floe, not a creak, not a sound, is to be 
heard in her; if she gives a little shake it is all she 




On Saturday, July 29th, we again headed eastward 
towards Yugor Strait as fast as sails and steam could 
take us. We had open sea ahead, the weather was fine 
and the wind fair. Next morning we came under the 
south side of Dolgoi or Langoia, as the Norwegian 
whalers call it, where we had to stand to the northward. 
On reaching the north of the island we again bore east- 
ward. Here I descried from the crow's-nest, as far as I 
could make out, several islands which are not given on 
the charts. They lay a little to the east of Langoia. 

It was now pretty clear that the Urania had not made 
her way through the ice. While we were sitting in the 
saloon in the forenoon, talking about it, a cry was heard 
from deck that the sloop was in sight. It was joyful 
news, but the joy was of no long duration. The next 
moment we heard she had a crow's-nest on her mast, so 
she was doubtless a sealer. When she sighted us she 
bore off to the south, probably fearing that we were a 
Russian war-ship or something equally bad. So, as we 
had no particular interest in her, we let her go on her 
way in peace. 

Later in the day we neared Yugor Strait. We kept 
a sharp lookout for land ahead, but none could be seen. 
Hour after hour passed as we glided onward at good 
speed, but still no land. Certainlv it would not be hio-h 
land, but nevertheless this was strange. Yes — there it 
lies, like a low shadow over the horizon, on the port bow. 
It is land — it is Vaigats Island. Soon we sight more of 



u ^ 





it— abaft the beam; then, too, the mainland on the south 
side of the strait. More and more of it 

comes in sit^ht — 

it increases rapidly. All low and level land, no hei<dits. 
no variety, no apparent opening for the strait ahead. 
Thence it stretches away to the north and south in a soft 
low curve. This is the threshold of Asia's boundless 
plains, so different from all we have been used to. 

We now glided into the strait, with its low rocky 
shores on either side. The strata of the rocks lie end- 
ways, and are crumpled and broken, but on the surface 
everything is level and smooth. No one who travels 
over the flat green plains and tundras would have any 
idea of the mysteries and upheavals that lie hidden 
beneath the sward. Here once upon a time were 
mountains and valleys, now all worn away and washed 

We looked out for Khabarova. On the north side of 
the sound there was a mark; a shipwrecked sloop lay 
on the shore ; it was a Norwegian sealer. The wreck of 
a smaller vessel lay by its side. On the south side was 
a tlag-staff. and on it a red flag ; Khabarova must then 
lie behind it. At last one or two buildings or shanties 
ai)j)eared behind a promontory, and soon the whole place 
lay exposed to view, consisting of tents and a few houses. 
On a little jutting-out point close by us was a lar«e red 
building, with white door-frames, of a very homelike 
api)earance. It w...^ indeed a Norwegian warehouse 
which Sibiriakoff had imported from Finmarken. But 



here the water was shallow, and we had to proceed care- 
fully for fear of running aground. We kept heaving 
the lead incessantly' — we had 5 fathoms of water, and 
then 4, then not much more than we needed, and then it 
shelved to a little over 3 fathoms. This was rather too 
close work, so we stood out again a bit to wait till we 
got a little nearer the place before drawing in to the 

A boat was now seen slowly approaching from the 
land. A man of middle height, with an open, kindly face 
and reddish beard, came on board. He might have been 
a Norwegian from his appearance. I went to meet him, 
and asked him in German if he was Trontheim. Yes, he 
was. After him there came a number of stranire fiirures 
clad in heavy robes of reindeer - skin, which nearly 
touched the deck. Ou l.ich- heads they wore peculiar 
"bashlyk"-like caps of reincalf - skin, beneath which 
strongly marked bearded faces showed forth, such as 
might well have belonged to old Norwecrian Vikinos. 
The whole scene, indeed, called up in my mind a pict- 
ure of the Viking Age, of expeditions to Gardarike and 
Bjarmeland. They were fine, stalwart- looking fellows, 
these Russian traders, who barter with the natives, givino- 
them brandy in exchange for bearskins, sealskins, and 
other valuables, and who, when once they have a hold on a 
man, keep him in such a state of dependence that he can 
scarcely call his soul his own. " Es ist eine alte Ge- 
schichte, doch wird sie immer neu." Soon, too, the 




Samoyedes came flocking on board, pleasant -featured 
people of the broad Asiatic type. Of course it was only 
the men who came. 

The first question I asked Trontheim was about the 
ice. He replied that Yugor Strait had been open a 
long while, and that he had been expecting our arrival 
every day since then with ever-increasing anxiety. The 
natives and the Russians had begun to jeer at him as 
time went on, and no Fram was to be seen ; but now he 
had his revenge and was all sunshine. He thought the 
state of the ice in the Kara Sea would be favorable ; 
some Samoyedes had said so, who had been seal-hunting 
near the eastern entrance of the Strait a day or two pre- 
viously. This was not very much to build upon, certainly, 
but still sufficient to make us regret that we had not got 
there before. Then we spoke of the Urania, of which 
no one, of course, had seen anything. No ship had put 
in there for some time, except the sealing sloop we had 
passed in the morning. 

Next we inquired about the dogs, and learned that 
everything was all right with them. To make sure, 
Trontheim had purchased forty dogs, though I had only 
asked for thirty. Five of these, from various mishaps, 
had died during their journey — one had been bitten to 
death, two had got hung fast and had been strangled 
while passing through a forest, etc., etc. One, more- 
over, had been taken ill a few days before, and was 
still on the sick list; but the remaining thirty-four were 

■■| ; :i 



in good condition: we could hear them howling and 
barking. During this conversation we had come as 
near to Khabarova as we dared venture, and at seven 
in the evening cast anchor in about 3 fathoms of water. 

Over the supper-table Trontheim told us his advent- 
ures. On the way from Sopva and Ural to the Pechora 
he heard that there was a dog epidemic in that locality ; 
consequently he did not think it advisable to go to the 
Pechora as he had intended, but laid his course instead 
direct from Ural to Yugor Strait. Towards the end of 
the journey the snow had disappeared, and, in company 
with a reindeer caravan, he drove on with his dogs over 
the bare plain, stocks and stones and all, usincr the 
sledges none the less. The Samoyedes and natives of 
Northern Siberia have no vehicles but sledges. The 
summer sledge is somewhat higher than the winter 
sledge, in order that it may not hang fast upon stones 
and stumps. As may be supposed, however, summer 
sledging is anything but smooth work. 

After supper we went ashore, and were soon on the 
flat beach of Khabarova, the Russians and Samoyedes 
regarding us with the utmost curiosity. The first ob- 
jects to attract our attention were the two churches— an 
old venerable-looking wooden shed, of an oblong rectan- 
gular form, and an octagonal pavilion, not unlike many 
summer-houses or garden pavilions that I have seen at 
home. How far the divergence between the two forms 
of religion was indicated in the two mathematical figures 


i „. 

m < 




I am unable to say. It might be that the simph'city of 
the old faith was expressed in the simple, four -sided 
building, while the rites and ceremonies of the other 
were typified in the octagonal form, with its double 
number of corners to stumble against. Then we must 




\ Front II I'ltiitoxraph) 

go and see the monastery — " Skit," as it was called — 
where the six monks had lived, or rather died, from what 
people said was scurvy, probably helped out by alcohol. 
It lay over against the new church, and resembled an 
ordinary low Russian timber -house. The priest and 




his assistants were living there now, and had asked 
Trontheim to take up his quarters with them. Tront- 
heim, therefore, invited us in, and we soon found our- 
selves in a couple of comfortable log -built rooms with 
open fireplaces like our Norwegian " peis." 

After this we proceeded to the dog-camp, which was 
situated on a plain at some distance from the houses and 
tents. As we approached it the howling and barking 
kept getting worse and worse. When a short distance 
off we were surprised to see a Norwegian flag on the 
top of a pole. Trontheim's face beamed with joy as our 
eyes fell on it. It was, he said, under the same flag as 
our expedition that his had been undertaken. There 
stood the dogs tied up, making a deafening clamor. 
Many of them appeared to be well-bred animals— long- 
haired, snow- white, with up -standing ears and pointed 
muzzles. With their gentle, good-natured looking faces 
they at once ingratiated themselves in our affections. 
Some of them more resembled a fox, and had shorter 
coats, while others were black or spotted. Evidently they 
were of different races, and some of them betrayed by 
their drooping ears a strong admixture of European 
blood. After having duly admired the ravenous way 
in which they swallowed raw fish (gwiniad), not with- 
out a good deal of snarling and wrangling, we took a 
walk inland to a lake close by in search of game ; but 
we only found an Arctic gull with its brood. A channel 
had been dug from this lake to convey drinking-water to 




V • 

t ■ 


Kliabarova. According to what Tronthcim told us, this 
was the work of the monks— about the only work, prob- 
ably, they had ever taken in hand. The soil here was a 
soft clay, und the channel was narrow and shallow, like a 
roadside ditch or gutter ; the work could not have been 
very arduous. On the hill above the lake stood the flag- 
staff which we had noticed on our arriv ".. It had been 
erected by the excellent Trontheim to bid us welcome, 
and on the flag itself, as I afterwards discovered by 
chance, was the word " Vorwarts." Trontheim had been 
told that was the name of our ship, so he was not a little 
disappointed when he came on board to find it was Fram 
instead. I consoled him, however, by telling him they 
both meant the same thing, and that his welcome was 
just as well meant, whether written in German or Nor- 
wegian. Trontheim told me afterwards that he was by 
descent a Norwegian, his father having been a ship's 
captain from Trondhjem, and his mother an Esthonian, 
settled at Riga. His father had been much at sea, and 
had died early, so the son had not learnt Norwegian. 

Naturally our first and foremost object was to learn 
all we could about the ice in the Arctic Sea. We had 
determined to push on as soon as possible ; but we must 
have the boiler put in order first, while sundry pipes and 
valves in the engine wanted seeing to. As it would take 
several days to do this, Sverdrup, Peter Henriksen, and I 
set out next morning in our little petroleum launch to 
the eastern opening of the Yugor Strait, to see with our 




{/•'rail! a f/wiogr i/ift tnkeii in /S,'/,') 




f» ,' 

^^^^^Hvi ' 






' '1 







own eyes what might be the condition of the ice to the 
eastward. It was 28 miles thither. A quantity of ice 
was drifting through the strait from the east, and, as 
there was a northerly breeze, we at once turned our 
course northward to get under the lee of the north shore, 
where the water was more open. I had the rather thank- 
less task of acting as helmsman and engineer at one and 
the same time. The boat went on like a little hero and 
made about six knots. Everything looked bright. But, 
alas ! good fortune seldom lasts long, especially when one 
has to do with petroleum launches. A defect in the cir- 
culation-pump soon stopped the engine, and wc could 
only go for short distances at a time, till we reached the 
north shore, where, after two hours' hard work, I got the 
engines so far in order as to be able to continue our jour- 
ney to the northeast through the sound between the drift- 
ing floes. We got on pretty well, except for an interrui> 
tion every now and then when the engine took it into its 
head to come to a standstill. It caused a good deal of 
merriment when the stalwart Peter turned the crank to 
set her off again and the engine gave a start so as nearly 
to pull his arms out of joint and upset him head over 
heels in the boat. Every now and then a flock of long- 
tailed duck {Harelda glacialis) or other birds came whiz- 
zing by us, one or two of them invariably falling to our 

We had kept along the Vaigats shore, but now crossed 
over towards the south side of the strait. When about 

K ■ 


1 fi 

I 22 



i t 

the middle of the channel I was startled by all at once 
seeing the bottom grow light under us, and had nearly 
run the boat on a shoal of which no one knew anvthin<^ 
There was scarcely more than two or three feet of water, 
and the current ran over it like a rajiid river. Shoals and 
sunken rocks abound there on every hand, especially on 
the south side of the strait, and it required great care to 
navigate a vessel through it. Near the eastern mouth of 
the strait we put into a little creek, dragged the boat up 
on the beach, and then, taking our guns, made for some 
high-lying land we had noticed. We tramped along over 
the same undulating plain-land with low ridges, as we had 
seen everywhere round the Yugor Strait, A brownish- 
green carpet of moss and grass spread over the plain, be- 
• strewn with flowers of rare beauty. During the long, cold 
Siberian winter the snow lies in a thick mass over the 
tundra; but no sooner does the sun get the better of it 
than hosts of tiny northern flowers burst their way up 
through the fast-disappearing coating of snow and open 
their modest calices, blushing in the radiant summer day 
that bathes the plain in its splendor. Saxifrages with 
large blooms, pale -yellow mountain poppies {Papaver 
iinduaiilc) stand in bright clusters, and here and there 
with bluish forget-me-nots and white cloud-berry flowers; 
in some boggy hollows the cotton-grass spreads its wavy 
down carpet, while in other spots small forests of blue- 
bells softly tingle in the wind on their upright stalks. 
These flowers are not at all brilliant specimens, beintr in 



most cases not more than a couple of inches high, but 
they are all the more exquisite on that account, and in 
such surroundings their beauty is singularly attractive. 
While the eye vainly seeks for a resting-place over the 
boundless plain, these modest blooms smile at you and 
take the fancy captive. 

And over these mighty tundra-plains of Asia, stretch- 
ing infinitely onward from one sky-line to the other, the 
nomad wanders with his reindeer herds, a glorious, free 
life ! Where he wills he pitches his tent, his reindeer 
around him ; and at his will again he goes on his way. 
I almost envied him. He has no gi al to struggle tow- 
ards, no anxieties to endure — he has merely to live! 
I wellnigh wished that I could live his peaceful life, 
with wife and child, on these boundless, open plains, un- 
fettered, happy. 

After we had proceeded a short distance, we became 
aware of a white object sitting on a stone heap beneath 
a little ridge, and soon noticed more in other directions. 
They looked quite ghostly as they sat there silent and 
motionless. With the help of my field-glass I discovered 
that they were snow-owls. We set out after them, but 
they took care to keep out of the range of a fowling- 
piece. Sverdrup, however, shot one or two with his rifle. 
There was a great number of them; I could count as 
many as eight or ten at once. They sat motionless on 
tussocks of grass or stones, watching, no doubt, for 
lemmings, of which, judging from their tracks, there 




11 i : ) 

f li- V ' 

must have been quantities. We, however, did not see 

From the tops of the ridges we could see over the 
Kara Sea to the northeast. Everywhere ice could be 
descried through the telescope, far on the horizon— ice, 
too, that seemed tolerably close and massive. But be- 
tween it and the coast there was open water, stretching, 
like a wide channel, as far as the eye could reach to the 
southeast. This was all we could make out, but it was 
in reality all we wanted. There seemed to be no doubt 
that we could make our way forward, and, well satisfied, 
we returned to our boat. Here we lighted a fire of drift- 
wood, and made some glorious coffee. 

As the coffee-kettle was singing over a splendid fire, 
and we stretched ourselves at full length on the slope by 
its side and smoked a quiet pipe, Sverdrup made himself 
thoroughly comfortable, and told us one story after 
another. However gloomy a country might look, how- 
ever desolate, if only there were plenty of driftwood on 
the beach, so that one could make a right good fire, the 
bigger the better, then his eyes would glisten with de- 
light — that land was his El Dorado. So from that time 
forth he conceived a high opinion of the Siberian coast 
— a right good place for wintering, he called it. 

On our way back we ran at full speed on to a sunken 
rock. After a bump or two the boat slid over it; but 
just as she was slipping off on the other side the pro- 
peller struck on the rock, so that the stern gave a 




bound into the air while the engine whizzed round at 
a tearing rate. It all happened in a second, before I 
had time to stop her. Unluckily one screw blade was 
broken off, but we drove ahead with the other as best 
we could. Our progress was certainly rather uneven, 
but for all that we managed to get on somehow. 

Towards morning we drew near the Frcim, passing 
two Samoyedes, who had drawn their boat up on an 
ice-floe and were looking out for seals. I wonder what 
they thought when they saw our tiny boat shoot by 
them without steam, sails, or oars. We, at all events, 
looked down on these " poor savages " with the self-sat- 
isfied compassion of Europeans, as, comfortably seated, 
we dashed past them. 

But pride comes before a fall ! We had not gone 
far when — whir, whir, whir — a fearful racket! bits 
of broken steel springs whizzed past my ears, and the 
whole machine came to a dead stop. It was not to be 
moved either forward or backward. The vibration of 
the one-bladed propeller had brought the lead line little 
by little within the range of the fly-wheel, and all at 
once the whole line was drawn into the machinery, and 
got so dreadfully entangled in it that we had to take 
the whole thing to pieces to get it clear once more. 
So we had to endure the humiliation of rowing back to 
our proud ship, for whose flesh-pots we had long been 

The net result of the day was: tolerably good news 



f X' 



f I 



\ ' 

I ) 

If,, I ( 


about the Kara Sea; forty birds, principally geese and 
long-tailed ducks ; one seal ; and a disabled boat. 
Amundsen and I, however, soon put this in complete 
repair again — but in so doing I fear I forfeited for- 
ever and a day the esteem of the Russians and Samoy- 
edes in these parts. Some of them had been on board 
in the morning and seen me hard at work in the boat 
in my shirt- sleeves, face and bare arms divty with oil 
and other messes. They went on shore afterwards to 
Trontheim, and said that I could not possibly be a 
great person, slaving away like any other workman on 
board, and looking worse than a common rough. Tront- 
heim, unfortunately, knew of nothing that could be said 
in my excuse; there is no fighting against facts. 

In the evening some of us went on shore to try the 
dogs. Tiontheim picked out ten of them and harnessed 
them to a Samoyede sledge. No sooner were we ready 
and I ha 1 taken my seat than the team caught sight 
of a wretched strange dog that had come near, and off 
dashed dogs, sledge, and my valuable person after the 
poor creature. There was a tremendous uproar; all the 
ten tumbled over each other like wild wolves, biting and 
tearing wherever they could catch hold; blood ran in 
streams, and the culprit howled pitiably, while Trontheim 
tore round like a madman, striking right and left with his 
long switch. S. - oyedes and Russians came screaming 
from all sides. I sat passively on the sledge in the 
middle of it all, dumb with fright, and it was ever so long 




before it occurred to me that there was perhaps something 
for me too to do. With a horrible yell I flung myself on 
some of the worst fighters, got hold of them by the neck, 
and managed to give the culprit time to get away. 


(liy Otto Sindingtfrom a F/iotogra/ilt) 

Our team had got badly mixed up during the battle, 
and it took some time to disentrngle them. At last 
everything was once more ready for the start. Tront- 
heim cracked his whip, and called, " Pr-r-r-r, pr-r-r-r," and 
off we went at a wild gallop, over grass, clay, and stones, 
until it seemed as if they were going to carry us right 
across the lagoon at the mouth of the river. I kicked 
and pulled in with all my might, but was dragged along, 
and it was all that Trontheim and I with our united 
strength could do to stop them just as they were going 
into the water, although we shouted " Sass, sass," so that 
it echoed over the whole of Khabarova. But at last we 
got our team turned in another direction, and off we set 



< 'I 

again merrily at such a pace that I had enough to do to 
hold on. It was an extraordinary summer ride ; and it 
gave us a high opinion of the dogs' strength, seeing how 
easily they drew two men over this, to put it mildly, bad 
sledging ground. We went on board again well satisfied, 
also the richer by a new experience, having learnt that 
dog-driving, at any rate to begin with, requires much 

Siberian dog-harness is remarkably primitive. A thick 
rope or a strap of sail-cloth passes round the animal's 
back and belly. This is held in its place above by a piece 
of cord attached to the collar. The single trace is 
fastened under '.he. belly, goes back between the legs, 
and must often plague the animal. I was unpleasantly 
surprised when I noticed that, with four exceptions, all 
the dogs were castrated, and this surprise I did not 
conceal. But Trontheim on his side was at least equally 
astonished, and informed me thai in Siberia castrated 
dogs are considered the best.* This was a disappoint- 
ment to me, as I had reckoned on my canine family 
increasing on the way. For the present I should just 
have to trust to the four " whole " dogs and " Kvik," the 
bitch I had brought with me from home. 

Next day, August ist, there was a great religious 
festival in Khabarova, that of St. Elias. Samoyedes 
from far and near had come in with their reindeer teams 

J .i 

* The ordinary male dog is liable to get inflammation of the scro- 
tum from the friction of the trace. 



to celebrate the day by going to church and then getting 
roaring drunk. We were in need of men in the morning 
to help in filling the boiler with fresh water and the 
tank with drinking-water, but on account of this festival 
it was difficult to get hold of any at all. At last, by dint 
of promising sufficient reward, Trontheim succeeded in 
collecting some poor fellows who had not money enough 
to drink themselves as drunk as the day required of 
them. I was on shore in the morning, partly to arrange 
about the provision of water, partly to collect fossils, in 
which the rock here abounds, especially one rock below 
Sibiriakoff's warehouse, i also took a walk up the hill 
to the west, to Trontheim's flag-staff, and looked out to 
sea in that direction after the Urania. But there was 
nothing to be seen except an unbroken sea-line. Loaded 
with my find I returned to Khabarova,. where I, of 
course, took advantage of the opportunity to see some- 
thing of the festival. 

From early morning the women had been dressed in 
their finest clothes — brilliant colors, skirts with many 
tucks, and great colored bows at the end of plaits of 
hair which hung far down their backs. Before service 
an old Samoyede and a comely young girl led out a lean 
reindeer which was to be offered to the church — to the 
old church, that is to say. Even up here, as already 
mentioned, religious differences have found their way. 
Nearly all the Samoyedes of these parts belong to the old 
faith and attend the old church. Bi c iliey go occasion- 




hll 1] 


H '' 


1 1 









iL ; 

1^ : 



ally to the new one too ; as far as I could make out, so as 
not to offend the priest and Sibiriakoff — or perhaps to 
be surer of heaven ? From what I got out of Tront- 
heim on the subject, the chief difference between the two 
religions lies in the way they make the sign of the cross, 
or something of that sort. To-day was high festival in 
both churches. All the Samoyedes first paid a short 
visit to the new church and then immediately streamed 
over into the old one. The old church was for the 
moment without a priest, but to - day they had clubbed 
together and offered the priest of the new church two 
roubles to hold a service in the old one too. After care- 
ful consideration, he agreed, and in all his priestly pomp 
crossed the old threshold. The air inside was so bad 
that I could not stand it for more than two minutes, so 
I now made my way on board again. 

During the afternoon the howling and screaming be- 
gan, and increased as time went on. We did not need 
to be told that the serious part of the festival had now 
begun. Some of the Samoyedes tore about over the 
plain with their reindeer teams like furious animus. 
They could not sit on their sledges, but lay on them, or 
were dragged behind them, howling. Some of my com- 
rades went on shore, and brought back anything but an 
edifying account of the state of things. Every single 
man and woman appeared to be drunk, reeling about the 
place. One young Samoyede in particular had made an 
ineffaceable impression on them. He mounted a sledge, 



lashed at the reindeer, and drove " amuck " in among the 
tents, over the tied-up dogs, foxes, and whatever came in. 
his way ; he himself fell off the sledge, was caught in the 


(By Otto Sindiiig, from a Photograph) 

reins, and dragged behind, shrieking, through sand and 
clay. Good St. Elias must be much flattered by such 
homage. Towards morning the howling gradually died 


I • 

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' 1 









" ' I'll 

M » 

-. I, 




away, and the whole town slept the loathsome sleep of 
the drunkard. 

There was not a man to bo got to help with our coal- 
shifting next day. Most- -A fhi>m slept all day after the 
orgie of the night. We had ins;t to do without help; 
but we had not finished by evening, and I began to be 
impatient to get away. Precious time was passing; I 
had long ago given up the Uranin. \Vc Jld not really 
need more coal. The wind had been favorable for sev- 
eral days. It was a south wind, which was certainly 
blowing the ice to the northward in the Kara Sea. 
Sverdrup was now positive that we should be able to sail 
in open water all the way to the New Siberian Islands, 
so it was his opinion that there was no hurry for the 
present. But hope is a frail reed to lean on, and my 
expectations were not quite so bright; so I hurried 
things on, to get away as soon as possible. 

At the supper-table this evening King Oscar's gold 
medal of merit was solemnly presented to Trontheim, in 
recognition of the great care with which he had executed 
his difficult commission, and the valuable assistance 
thereby rendered to the expedition. His honest face 
beamed at the sight of the beautiful medal and the bright 

Next day, August 3d, we were at last ready for a start, 
and the 34 dogs were brought on board in the afternoon, 
with great noise and confusion. They were all tied 
up on the deck forward, and began by providing more 



musical entertainment than we desired. By evening the 
hour had come. We got up steam — everything was 
ready. But such a thick fog had set in that we could 
not see the land. Now came the moment when our last 
friend, Christofersen, was to leave the ship. We sup- 
plied him with the barest sufficiency of provisions and 
some Ringnes's ale. While this was being done, last 
lines were added in feverish eagerness to the letters 
home. Then came a last hand-clasp; Christofersen and 
Tronthcim got into the boat, and had soon disappeared 
in the fog. With them went our last post ; our last link 
with home was broken. We were alone in the mist on 
the sea. It was not likely that any message from us 
would reach the world before we ourselves brought the 
news of our success or defeat. How much anxiety were 
those at home to suffer between now and then ! It is 
true we might possibly be able to send letters home from 
the mouth of the Olenek, where, according to the agree- 
ment with Baron Toll, we were to call in for another 
supply of dogs; but I did not consider this probable. It 
was far on in the summer, and I had an instinctive feel- 
ing that the state of the ice was not so favorable as I 
could have wished it to be. 

trontiieim's narrative 

' : « 


Alexander Ivanovitch Trontheim has himself given 
an account, in the Tobolsk ofificial newspaper, of his long 


p ■ 

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' •> 1 

' ■ ■ , 


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1' ' 

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fi.^ I 



and difficult journey with our dogs. The account was 
written by A. Kryloff from Trontheim's story. 'I'he fol- 
lowing is a short resume : 

After having made the contract with Baron Toll, 
Trontheim was on January 28th (January i6th by Rus- 
sian reckoning) already at Berezoff, where there was then 
a Yassak-meeting * and consequently a great assembly of 
Ostiaks and Samoyedes. Trontheim made use of this 
opportunity and bought n (this ought probably to be 
40) choice sledge dogs. These he conveyed to the little 
country town of Muzhi, where he made preparations for 
the "very long journey," passing the time in this way 
till April 1 6th. By this date he had prepared 300 pud 
(about 9600 lbs.) of dog provender, consisting chiefly of 
dried fish. For 300 roubles he engaged a Syriane, 
named Terentieff, with a reindeer herd of 450, to convey 
him, his dogs, and baggage to Yugor Strait. For three 
months these two with their caravan — reindeer, drivers, 
dogs, women, and children — travelled through the barren 
tracts of northern Siberia. At first their route lay 
through the Ural Mountains. " It was more a sort of 
nomadic life than a journey. They did not go straight 
on towards their destination, but wandered over wide 
tracts of country, stopping wherever it was suitable for 
the reindeer, and where they found lichen. From the 
little town of Muzhi the expedition passed up the Voikara 

* Yassak is a tax paid in fur by tlie Siberians. 





(/■'rout It /»/;i)/<i;'' ''//'' 

p ^^' ' 

1 ■;■' , 




River to its sources ; and here began the ascent of the 
Ural Mountains by the Pass of Kjaila (Kjola). In their 
crossing of the chain they tried to skirt along the foot of 
the mountains, climbing as little as possible. . . . 

" They noticed one marked contrast between the 
mountains in the northern and those in the southern part 
of the Ural chain. In the south the snow melts quickly 
in the lower regions and remains lying on the tops. 
Here (in the northern Ural), on the contrary, the moun- 
tain-tops are free from snow before the sun's rays pene- 
trate into the valleys and melt it there. In some valleys, 
especially those closed by mountains to the south, and 
more exposed to north winds, the snow lies the whole 
summer. When they had got across the Ural Moun- 
tains they first followed the course of the River Lemva, 
then crossed it, and now followed a whole system of small 
rivers, for which even the natives have no names. At 
last, on May 4th, the expedition reached the River Ussa, 
on the banks of which lay the hut of the Syriane Nikit- 
sa." This was " tne one inhabited spot in this enormous 
tract of country," and here they stopped two weeks to 
rest the reindeer and get provender for them. "The 
country lying between the sources of the Voikara and 
the Ussa is wooded in every direction." " Between the 
River Ussa and the River Vorkuta, and even beyond that, 
Trontheim and his company travelled through quite lux- 
uriant wood. In the middle of May, as the caravan ap- 
proached the tundra region, the wood got thinner and 









\ 1 S} ' 

, r 

thinner, and by May 27th it was nothing but scattered 
underwood. After this came quite small bushes and 
weeds, and then at last the interminable tundra came in 
sight. Not to be without fuel on the tundra, they felled 
seme dead trees and other wood — eight sledge loads. The 
day after they got out on the tundra (May 29th) the cara- 
van set off at full speed, the Syrianes being anxious to 
get quickly past a place where a whole herd of reindeer 
had perished some years before. The reindeer-drivers 
take good note of such places, and do everything possi- 
ble to avoid them, as the animals may easily be infected 
by gnawing the bones of their dead comrades. God help 
the herd that this happens to ! The disease passes rapid- 
ly from animal to animal, and scores may die of it in a 

" In this region there are many bogs ; the low land 
forms one continuous morass. Sometimes we had to 
walk up to the waist in water; thus on June 5th we 
splashed about the whole day in water, in constant fear 
of the dogs catching cold. On the 6th a strong north- 
east wind blew, and at night the cold was so severe that 
two reindeer-calves were frozen to death; and besides 
this two grown ones were carried off by wolves." 

The caravan had often to cross rapid rivers, where it 
was sometimes very difficult to find a ford. They were 
frequently obliged to construct a bridge with the help of 

■ This disease is probably anthrax, or something of the same nature. 



tent-poles and sometimes blocks of ice, and it occasionally 
took them a whole day to get across. By degrees their 
supply of wood was used up, and it was difificult to get 
food cooked. Few bushes were to be found. On June 
17th they met a Syriane reindeer driver and trader; from 
him they bought two bottles of wine (brandy) at 70 ko- 
pecks each. " It was, as is customary, a very friendly 
encounter, and ended with treatings on both sides. One 
can see a long way on the tundra ; the Syriane's keen 
eye detects another herd, or smoke from inhabited 
tents, 10 versts off; and a nomad who has discovered the 
presence of another human being 10 or 12 versts off 
never lets slip the opportunity of visiting him in his 
camp, having a talk, and being regaled with tea, or, in 
preference, brandy. The day after, June i8th, some 
Samoyedes, who had heard of the caravan, came on four 
sledges to the camp. They were entertained with tea. 
The conversation, carried on in Samoyede, was about the 
health of the reindeer, our journey, and the way to Yugor 
Strait. When the scanty news of the tundra had been 
well discussed they took their departure." 

By the end of June, when they had got through all 
the ramifications of the Little Ural Mountains, the time 
was drawing near w'hen, according to his agreement, 
Tronthcim was due at Yugor Strait. He was obliged 
to hasten the rate of travelling, which was not an easy 
matter, with more than 40 sledges and 450 reindeer, 
not counting the calves. He, therefore, determined to 




1 1 >': 

Pi '{ % 

divide the caravan into two parts, leave the women, 
children, and domestic animals behind, and push forward 
without any baggage, except the necessary food. So, on 
June 28th, "thirty sledges, tents, etc., were left with the 
women and children, who were to live their nomadic life 
as best they could. The male Syrianes took ten sledges 
and went on with Trontheim." At last, on July 9th, 
after more wanderings, they saw the sea from a "high 
hill," and next day they reached Khabarova, where 
Trontheim learned that no steamer had arrived yet in 
Yugor Strait, nor had any sail been seen. At this time 
the whole shore of Yugor Strait and all the sea within 
sight was covered with ice, driven there by northerly 
winds. The sea was not quite open till July 22d. 
Trontheim passed the time while he was waiting for 
the Fram in hunting and making excursions with his 
dogs, which were in excellent condition. He was often 
in the Sibiriakoff colony, a meeting - place for the 
Samoyedes of the district, who come here in considerable 
numbers to dispose of their wares. And it was a 
melancholy phase of life he saw here in this little " world- 
forsaken " colony. "Every summer two or three mer- 
chants or peasant traders, generally from Pustozersk, 
come for the purpose of bartering with the Samoyedes, 
and sometimes the Syrianes, too, for their wares— bear- 
skins, blubber, and sealskins, reindeer -skins, and such 
like — giving in exchange tea, sugar, flour, household 
utensils, etc. No transaction takes place without the 



drinking of brandy, for which the Samoyede has an 
insatiable craving. When the trader has succeeded in 
making a poor wretch quite tipsy, he fleeces him, and 
buys all he wants at some ridiculous price — the result of 
the transaction gener.-Hy being that the Samoyede is in 
debt to his ' benefactor.' All the traders that come to 
the colony bring brandy, and one great drinking-bout 
goes on all the summer. You can tell where much busi- 
ness is done by the number of brandy casks in the trad- 
er's booth. There is no police inspection, and it would 
be difficult to organize anything of the kind. As soon 
as there is snow enough for the sledges, the merchants' 
reindeer caravans start from the colony on their home- 
ward journey, loadea with empty brandy casks and with 
the proceeds of this one-sided bartering. 

" On July 30th [this ought to be 29th] Trontheim saw 
from the shore, first, smoke, and soon after a steamer. 
There could be no doubt of its being the Fram. He 
went out in a little Samoyede boat to meet her, and 
called out in Russian that he wanted to be taken on 
board. From the steamer they called back, asking who 
he was, and when they heard his name he was hauled 
up. On deck he met Naiisen himself, in a greasy work- 
ing-jacket. He is still quite a young man, of middle 
height. ..." Here follows a flattering description of the 
leader of the expedition, and the state of matters on 
board. " Ii . ddent," he then goes on, "that we have 
here one fami!; , united and inspired by one idea, for the 




■J i 

h > 

it I 

carrying out of which all labor devotedly. The hard 
and dirty work on board is fairly divided, no difference 
being made between the common sailor and the captain, 
or even the chief of the expedition. The doctor, too, 
takes his share in the general work, and this community 
of labor is a close bond between all on board. The 
existence of such relations among the ship's company 
made a very favorable impression on Trontheim, and 
this most of all (in his opinion) justified the hope that 
in difficult crises the expedition would be able to hold 
its own. 

" A. I. Trontheim was on board the J^ram every 
day, breakfasting and dining there. From what he re- 
lates, the ship must be admirably built, leaving noth- 
ing whatever to be desired. The cabins are roomy, 
and comfortably fitted up ; there is an excellent library, 
containing the classics of European literature; various 
musical instruments, from a beautiful grand -piano* to 
flutes and guitars ; then chess, draughts, etc. — all I or the 
recreation of the company." 

Here follows a descrij)tion of the Fram, her general 
equipments, and commissariat. It seems to have made 
a great impression on him that we had no wine (brandy) 
on board. " I was told," he exclaims, " that only among 


* By this he probably means our organ. Our other musical instru- 
ments were as follows: An accordion, belonging to the ship, and a flute, 
violin, and several Jew's-harps, belonging to one of the ships's com- 

iit. .i 



the medicine stores have they some 20 or 30 bottles of 
the best cognac pure, highly rectified spirit. It is Nan- 
sen's opinion that brandy-drinking in these northern 
regions is injurious, and may, if indulged in on such a 
difficult and dangerous voyage, have very serious con- 
sequences ; he has therefore considered it expedient to 
supply its place by fruit and various sorts of sweets, of 
which there are large supplies on board." " In harbor 
the crew spent most of the day together; in spite of 
community of work, each individual's duties are fixed 
down to the minutest detail. They all sit down to 
meals together, with the exception of the acting cook, 
whose duty they take by turns. Health and good spir- 
its are to be read on every face ; Hansen's immova- 
ble faith in a successful and happy issue to their ex- 
pedition inspires the whole crew with courage and 

' On August 3d they shifted coal on board the Fram 
from the ship's hold down to the stoke -hold (coal 
bunkers). All the members of the expedition took part 
in this work, Nanscn at their head, and they worked 
unitedly and cheerfully. This sa.p.e day Nansen and his 
companions tried the dogs on shore. Eight [this should 
be ten | where harnessed to a sledge on which three 
persons took their places. Nansen expressed his satis- 
faction with the dogs, and thanked Trontheim for the 
good selection he had made, and for the excellent 
condition the animals were in. When the dogs were 


7 «1 


* »i 


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n i 

taken over and brought on board,* Trontheim applied 
to Nansen for a certificate of the exact and scrupulous 
way in which he had fulfilled his contract. Nansen's 
a'.iswer was : ' No ; a certificate is not enough. Your 
duty has been done with absolute conscientiousness, 
and you have thereby rendered a great service to the 
expedition. I am commissioned to present you with a 
gold medal from our king in recognition of the great 
help you have given us.' With these words Nansen 
handed to Trontheim a very large gold medal with a 
crown on it. On the obverse is the following inscrip. 
tioi: 'Oscar II., King of Norway and Sweden. F'or 
the Welfare of the Brother-Nations.' And on the re- 
verse: 'Reward for valuable service, A. I. Trontheim.' 
Along with this Nansen also gave Trontheim a written 
testimonial as to the admirable manner in which he had 
carried out his commission, mentioning that for this he 
had been rewarded with a medal. 

" Nansen determined to weigh anchor during the 
night of this same day,t and set sail on his long voyage 
without waiting for the coal sloop Urania, which he 
thought must have been delayed by the ice. In the 
evening Trontheim took leave of the whole party, with 
hearty wishes for the success of the expedition. Along 
with him Herr Ole Christofersen, correspondent of one 

* It will be observed that there is some slip of memory here — it was 
the evening before. 

t It was, in fact, the day after. 



of the chief London newspapers,* left the ship. He had 
accompanied Nansen from Vardo. At parting, Nansen 
gave them a plentiful supply of provisions, Christofersen 
and Trontheim having to await the arrival of the Urania^ 
as they were to go home by her. Precisely at 12 o clock 
on the night between August 4th and 5th the signal for 
starting was given, and the Fram stood out to sea." 

On August 7th the Urania at last arrived. As I had 
supposed, she had been stopped by ice, but had at last 
got out of it uninjured. Christofersen and Trontheim 
were able to sail for home in her on the nth, and 
reached Vardo on the 2 2d, food having been very scarce 
during the last part of the time. The ship, which had 
left her home port, Brono, in May, was not provided for 
so long a voyage, and these last days they lived chiefly 
on dry biscuits, water, and — weevils. 



* I do not believe that Christofersen ever in his life had anything to 
do with a London newspaper. 






A H!^ 

It was well into the night, after Christofersen and 
Trontheim had left us, before we could get away. The 
channel was too dangerous for us to risk it in the thick 
fog. But it cleared a little, and the petroleum launch 
was got ready; I had determined to go on ahead with 
it and take soundings. We started about midnight. 
Hansen stood in the bow with the lead-line. First we 
bore over towards the point of Vaigats to the north- 
west, as Palander directs, then on through the strait, 
keeping to the Vaigats side. The fog was often so thick 
that it was with dlf^culty we could catch a glimpse of 
the Fram, which followed close behind us, and on board 
the Fram they could not see our boat. But so long 
as we had enough water, and so long as we saw that 
they were keeping to the right course behind us, we 
went ahead. Soon the fog cleared again a litde. But 
the depth was not quite satisfactory ; we had been hav- 
ing steadily 4.^ to 5 fathoms ; then it dropped to 4, and 
then to 3i. This was too little. We turned and sicr- 
nailed to the Fram to stop. Then we held farther out 



from land and got into deeper water, so that the Fram 
could come on again at full speed. 

From time to time our petroleum engine took to its 
old tricks and stopped. I had to pour in more oil to set 
it going again, and as I was standing doing this the boat 
gave a lurch, so that a little oil was spilt and took fire. 
The burning oil ran over the bottom of the boat, where 
a good dc had been spilt already. In an instant the 
whole stern was in a blaze, and my clothes, which were 
sprinkled with oil, caught fire. I had to rush to the 
bow, and for a moment the situation was a critical one, 
especially as a big pail that was standing full of oil also 
took fire. As soon as I had stopped the burning of my 
clothes I rushed aft again, seized the pail, and poured 
the fiaming oil into the sea, burning my fingers badly. 
At once the whole surface of the water round was in 
flames. Then I got hold of the baler, and haled water 
into the boat as hard as I could, and soon the worst 
was over. Things had looked anything but well from 
the Fram, however, and they were standing by with 
ropes and buoys to throw to us. 

Soon we were out of Yugor Strait. There was now 
so little fog that the low land round us was visible, and 
we could also sec a little way out to sea, and, in the dis- 
tance, all drift-ice. At 4 o'clock in the morning (August 
4th) we glided past Sokolii, or Hawk Island, out into the 
dreaded Kara Sea. 

Now our fate was to be decided. I had always said 



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WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 










that if we could get safely arross the Kara Sea and past 
Cape Cheliuskin, the worst would be over. Our pros- 
pects were not bad— an open passage to the east, along 
the land, as far as we could see from the masthead. 


(By Otto Siuding,from a Photograph) 

An hour and a half later we were at the edge of the 
ice. It was so close that there was no use in attempting 
to go on through it. To the northwest it seemed much 
looser, and there was a good deal of blue in the atmos. 
phere at the horizon there.* We kept southeast along 

* There is a white reflection from white ice, so that the sky above 
fields of ice has a light or whitish appearance; wherever there is open 
water it is blue or dark. In this way the Arctic navigator can judge by 
the appearance of the sky what is the state of the sea at a considerable 



the land through broken ice, but in the course of the day 
went further out to sea, the blueness of the atmosphere 
to the east and northeast promising more open water in 
that direction. However, about 3 p.m. the ice became 
su close that I thought it best to get back into the open 
channel along the land. It was certainly possible that 
we might have forced our way through the ice in the 
sea here, but also possible that we might have stuck fast, 
and it was too early to run this risk. 

Next morning (August 5th), being then off the coast 
near to the mouth of the River Kara, we steered across 
towards Yalmal. We soon had that low land in sight, 
but in the afternoon we got into fog and close ice. Next 
day it was no better, and we made fast to a great ice- 
block which was lying stranded off the Yalmal coast. 

In the evening some of us went on shore. The water 
was so shallow that our boat stuck fast a good way from 
the beach, and we had to wade. It was a perfectly flat, 
smooth sand- beach, covered by the sea at full tide, and 
beyond that a steep sand - bank, 30 to 40 feet, in some 
places probably 60 feet, high. 

We wandered about a little. Flat, bare country on 
every hand. Any driftwood we saw was buried in the 
sand and soaking wet. Not a bird to be seen except 
one or two snipe. We came to a lake, and out of the 
fog in front of me I heard the cry of a loon, but saw no 
living creature. Our view was blocked by a wall of fog 
whichever way we turned. There were plenty of rein- 



,n ! 1 

deer tracks, but of course they were only those of the 
Samoyedes' tame reindeer. This is the land of the 
Samoyedes — and oh but it is desolate and mournful! 
The only one of us that bagged anything was the 


(By Otto Si>tding,jrom a Photograph) 

botanist. Beautiful flowers smiled to us here and there 
among the sand - mounds — the one message from a 
brighter world in this land of fogs. We went far in over 
the flats, but came only to sheets of water, with low spits 
running out into them, and ridges between. We often 
heard the cry of loons on the water, but could never 
catch sight of one. All these lakelets were of a remark- 
able, exactly circular conformation, with steep banks all 



round, just as if each had dug out a hole for itself in the 
sandy plain. 

With the oars of our boat and a large tarpaulin we 
had made a sort of tent. We were lucky enough to find 
a little dry wood, and soon the tent was filled with the 
fragrant odor of hot coffee. When we had eaten and 
drunk and our pipes were lit, Johansen, in spite of fa- 
tigue and a full meal, surprised us by turning one som- 
ersault after another on the heavy, damp sand in front 
of the tent in his long military cloak and sea-boots half 
full of water. 

By 6.30 next morning we were on board again. The 
fog had cleared, but the ice, which lay drifting back- 
ward and forward according to the set of the tide, 
looked as close as ever towards the north. Durino- the 
morning we had a visit from a boat with two stalwart 
Samoyedes, who were well received and treated to food 
and tobacco. They gave us to understand that they 
were living in a tent some distance inland and farther 
north. Presently they went off again, enriched with 
gifts. These were the last human beings we met. 

Next day the ice was still close, and, as there was 
nothing else to be done, some of us went ashore again 
in the afternoon, partly to see more of this little-known 
coast, and partly, if possible, to find the Samoyedes' 
camp, and get hold of some skins and reindeer flesh. 
It is a strange, flat country. Nothing but sand, sand 
everywhere. Still flatter, still more desolate than the 





< 'Si 




country about Yugor Strait, with a still wider horizon 
Over the plain lay a green carpet of grass and moss 
liere and there spoiled by the wind having torn it up and 
swept sand over it. But trudge as we might, and search 
as we might, v/e found no Samoyede camp. We saw 


three men in the far distance, but they went off as fast 
as they could the moment they caught sight of us 
There was little game-just a few ptarmigan, golden 
plovers, and long -tailed ducks. Our chief gain was 
another collection of plants, and a few geological and 
geographical notes. Our observations showed that the 
land at this place was charted not less than half a degree 
or 36 to T,Z minutes too far west. 

It was not till next forenoon (August 9th) that we 



went on board again. The ice to the north now seemed 
to be rather looser, and at 8 p.m. we at last began once 
more to make our way north. We found ice that was 
easy to get through, and held on our course until, three 
days later, we got into open water. On Sunday, August 
1 8th, we stood out into the open Kara Sea, past the north 
point of Yalmal and Bieloi - Ostrov (White Island). 
There was no ice to be seen in any direction. During 
the days that followed we had constant strong east winds, 
often increasing to half a gale. We kept on tacking to 
make our way eastward, but the broad and keelless Fram 
can hardly be called a good "beater"; we made too much 
leeway, and our progress was correspondingly slow. In 
the journal there is a constantly recurring entry of 
" Head - wind," " Head - wind." The monotony was ex^ 
treme ; but as they may be of interest as relating to the 
navigation of this sea, I shall give the most important 
items of the journal, especiahy those regarding the state 
of the ice. 

On Monday, August 14th, we beat with only sail 
against a strong wind. Single pieces of ice were seen 
during the middle watch, but after that there was none 
within siffht. 

Tuesday, August 15th. The wind slackened in the 
middle watch ; we took in sail and got up steam. At 5 
in the morning we steamed away east over a sea perfectly 
clear of ice ; but after mid-day the wind began to freshen 
again from E.N.E., and we had to beat with steam and 


' <^"i 










1 .'• 




sail. Single floes of ice were seen during the evening 
and night. 

Wednesday, August i6th. As the Kara Sea seemed 
so extraordinarily free from ice, and as a heavy sea was 
running from the northeast, we decided to hold north as 
far as we could, even if it should be to the Einsamkeit 
(Lonely) Island. But about half-past three in the after- 
noon we had a strip of close ice ahead, so that we had to 
turn. Stiff breeze and sea. Kept on beating east along 
the edge of the ice. Almost lost the petroleum launch 
in the evening. The waves were constantly breaking 
into it and filling it, the gunwale was burst in at two 
places, and the heavy davits it hung on were twisted as 
if they had been copper wires. Only just in the nick of 
time, with the waves washing over us, some of us managed 
to get it lashed to the side of the ship. There seemed to 
be some fatality about this boat. 

Thursday, August 1 7th. Still beating eastward under 
sail and steam through scattered ice, and along a margin 
of fixed ice. Still blowing hard, with a heavy sea as so^'on 
as we headed a little out from the ice. 

Friday, August 1 8th. Continued storm. Stood south- 
east. At 4.30 A.M., Sve'rdrup, who had gone up into 
the crow's-nest to look out for bears and walrus on the 
ice-floes, saw land to the south of us. At 10 a.m. I went 
up to look at it— we were then probably not more than 
10 miles away from it. It was low land, seemingly of 
the same formation as Yalmal, with steep sand-banks, 






r a: 
& w 












' I 





lower as we 
i^ui lai iroin us, small icebergs lay aground. 
The lead showed steadily less and less water; by 11.30 
A.M. there were only some 8 fathoms ; then, to our sur- 
prise, the bottom suddenly fell to 20 fathoms, and after 
that we found steadily increasing depth. Between the 
land and the blocks of stranded ice on our lee there ap- 
peared to be a channel with rather deeper water and not 
so much ice aground in it. It seemed difificult to conceive 
that there should be undiscovered land here, where both 
Nordenskibld and Edward Johansen, and possibly sever- 
al Russians, had passed without seeing anything. Our 
observations, however, were incontestable, and we imme- 
diately named the land Sverdrup's Island, after its dis- 

As there was still a great deal of ice to windward, we 
continued our southwesterly course, keeping as close to 
the wind as possible. The weather was clear, and at 8 
o'clock we sighted the mainland, with Dickson's Island 
ahead. It had been our intention to run in and anchor 
here, in order to put letters for home under a cai'rn, 
Captain Wiggins having promised to pick them up on his 
way to the Yenisei. But in the meantime the wind had 
fallen : it was a favorable chance, and time was precious. 
So gave up sending our post, and continued our course 
along the coast. 

The country here was quite different from Yalmal. 
Though not very high, it was a hilly country, with 







patches and even large drifts of snow here and there, 
some of them lying close down by the shore. Next 
morning I sighted the southernmost of the Kamenni 
Islands. We took a tack in under it to see if there were 





animals of any kind, but could catch sight of none. 
The island rose evenly from the sea at all points, with 
steep shores. They consisted for the most part of rock, 
which was partly solid, partly broken up by the action of 
the weather into heaps of stones. It appeared to be a 
stratified rock, with strongly marked oblique strata. The 
island was also covered with quantities of gravel, some- 
times mixed with larger stones; the whole of the 
northern point seemed to be a sand heap, with steep 
sand-banks towards the shore. The most noticeable 
feature of the island was its marked shore-lines. Near 
the top there was a specially pronounced one, which was 
like a sharp ledge on the west and north sides, and 
stretched across the island like a dark band. Nearer the 
beach were several other distinct ones. In form they alt 




resembled the upper one with its steep ledges, and had 
evidently been formed in the .same way — by the action of 
the sea, and more especially of the ice. Like the upper 
one, they also were most marked on the west and north 
sides of the island, which are those facing most to the 
open sea. 

To the student of the history of the earth these marks 
of the former level of the sea are of great interest, show- 
ing as they do that the land has risen or the sea sunk 
since the time they were formed. Like Scandinavia, the 
whole of the north coast of Siberia has undergone these 
changes of level since the Great Ice Age. 

It was strange that we saw none of the islands which, 
according to Nordenskiold's map, stretch in a line to the 
northeast from Kamenni Islands. On the other hand, I 
took the bearings of one or two other islands lying almost 
due east, and next morning we passed a small island far- 
ther north. 

We saw few birds in this neighborhood — only a few- 
flocks of geese, some Arctic gulls {Lestris parasitica and 
Z. biiffonii), and a few sea-gulls and tern. 

On Sunday, August 20th, we had, for us, uncommon- 
ly fine weather— blue sea, brilliant sunshine, and light 
wind, still from the northeast. In the afternoon we ran 
in to the Kjellman Islands. These we could recognize 
from their position on Nordenskiold's map, but south 
of them we found many unknown ones. They all had 
smoothly rounded forms, these Kjellman Islands, like 

i< ■ 't. 







! 1^ 

rocks that have been ground smooth by the glaciers of 
the Ice Age. The Fram anchored on the north side 
of the largest of them, and while the boiler was being 
refitted, some of us went ashore in the evening for some 
shooting. We had not left the ship when the mate, 
from the crow's - nest, caught sight of reindeer. At 
once we were all agog; every one wanted to go ashore, 
and the mate was quite beside himself with the hunter's 
fever, his eyes as big as saucers, and his hands trembling 
as though he were drunk. Not until we were in the boat 
had we time to look seriously for the mate's reindeer. 
We looked in vain — not a living thing was to be seen in 
any direction. Yes — when we were close inshore we at 
last descried a large flock of geese waddling upward from 
the beach. We were base enough to let a conjecture 
escape us that these were the mate's reindeer a sus- 
picion which he at first rejected with contempt. Gradu- 
ally, however, his confidence oozed away. But it is pos- 
sible to do an injustice even to a mate. The first thino- 
I saw when I sprang ashore was old reindeer tracks. 
The mate had now the laugh on his side, ran from track 
to track, and swore that it was reindeer he had seen. 

When we got up on to the first height we saw several 
reindeer on flat ground to the south of us; but, the wind 
being fioin the north, we had to go back and make our 
way south along the shore till we got to leeward of them. 
The only one who did not approve of this plan was the 
mate, who was in a state of feverish eagerness to rush 



Straight at some reindeer he thought he had seen to the 
east, which, of course, was an absolutely certain way to 
clear the field of every one of them. He asked and re- 


\h'rom ,1 rh:'to:-rnf'i,. Daemhcr ii, i8i)j) 

ceived permission to remain behind with Hansen, who 
was to take a magnetic observation ; but had to promise 
not to move till he got the oider. 

1 62 


i ' 


On the way along the shore we passed one great flock 
of geese after another; they stretched their necks and 
waddled aside a little until we were quite near, and only 
then took flight; but we had no time to waste on such 
small game. A little farther on we caught sight of one 
or two reindeer we had not noticed before. We could 
easily have stalked them, but were afraid of getting to 
windward of the others, which were farther south. At 
last we got to leeward of these latter also, but they were 
grazing on flat ground, and it was anything but easy to 
stalk them — not a hillock, not a stone to hide behind. 
The only thing was to form a long line, advance as best 
we could, and, if possible, outflank them. In the mean- 
time we had caught sight of another herd of reindeer 
farther to the north, but suddenly, to our astonishment, 
saw them tear off across the plain eastward, in all proba- 
bility startled by the mate, who had not been able to- 
keep quiet any longer. 

A little to the north of the reindeer nearest us there 
was a hollow, opening from the shore, from which it 
seemed that it might be possible to get a shot at them. 
I went back to try this, while the others kept their 
places in the line. As I went down again towards the 
shore I had the sea before me, quiet and beautiful. The 
sun had gone down behind it not long before, and the 
sky was glowing in the clear, light night. I had to 
stand still for a minute. In the midst of all this beauty, 
man was doing the work of a beast of prey I At this. 

I' ':y 



moment I saw to the north a dark speck move down the 
height where the mate and Hansen ought to be. It 
divided into two, and the one moved east, just to the 
windward of the animals I was to stalk. They would 
get the scent immediately and be off. There was 
nothing for it but to hurry on, while I rained anything 
but good wishes on these fellows' heads. The gully 
was not so deep as I had expected. Its sides were 
just high enough to hide me when I crept on all fours. 
In the middle were large stones and clayey gravel, 
\^\i\\ a little runnel soaking through them. The reindeer 
were still grazing quietly, only now and then raising 
their heads to look round. My " cover " got lower and 
lower, and to the north I heard the mate. He would 
presently succeed in setting off my game. It was im- 
perative to get on quickly, but there was no longer 
cover enough for me to advance on hands and knees. 
My only chance was to wriggle forward like a snake on 
my stomach. But in this soft clay — in the bed of the 
stream .? Yes — meat is too precious on board, and the 
beast of prey is too strong in a man. My clothes must 
be sacrificed; on I crept on my stomach through the 
mud. But soon there was hardly cover enough even for 
this. I squeezed myself fiat among the stones and 
ploughed forward like a drain-cutting machine. And I 
did make way, if not quickly and comfortably, still surely. 
All this time the sky was turning darker and darker 
red behind me, and it was getting more and more 





difficult to use the sights of my gun, not to mention 
the trouble I had in keeping the clay from them and 
from the muzzle. The reindeer still grazed quietly on. 
When they raised their heads to look round I had to lie 
as quiet as a mouse, feeling the water trickling gently 
under my stomach ; when they began to nibble the 
moss again, off I went through the mud. Presently I 
made the disagreeable discovery that they were moving 
away from me about as fast as I could move forward, 
and I had to redouble my exertions. But the darkness 
was getting worse and worse, and I had the mate to 
the north of me, and presently he would start them off. 
The outlook was anything but bright either morally 
or physically. The hollow was getting shallower and 
shallower, so that I was hardly covered at all. I 
squeezed myself still deeper into the mud. A turn in 
the ground helped me forward to the next little height; 
and now they were right in front of me, within what I 
should have called easy range if it had been daylight. I 
tried to take aim, but could not see the bead on my gun. 
Man's fate is sometimes hard to bear. My clothes 
were dripping with wet clay, and after what seemed 
to me most meritorious exertions, here I was at the 
goal, unable to take advantage of my position. But 
now the reindeer moved down into a small depression. 
I crept forward a little way farther as quickly as I could. 
I was in a splendid position, so far as I could tell in the 
dark, but I could not see the bead any better than 



before. It was impossible to get nearer, for there was 
only a smooth slope between us. There was no sense 
in thinking of waiting for light to shoot by. It was now 
midnight, and I had that terrible mate to the north of 
me ; besides, the wind was not to be trusted. I held the 
rifle up against the sky to see the bead clearly, and then 
lowered it on the reindeer. I did this once, twice, thrice. 
The bead was still far from clear; but, all the same, I 
thought I might hit, and pulled the trigger. The two 
deer gave a sudden start, looked round in astonishment, 
and bolted off a little way south. There they stood still 
again, and at this moment were joined by a third deer, 
which had been standing rather farther north. I fired 
off all the cartridges in the magazine, and all to the same 
good purpose. The creatures started and moved off a 
little at each shot, and then trotted farther south. Pres- 
ently they made another halt, to take a long careful look 
at me ; and I dashed off westward, as hard as I could 
run, to turn them. Now they were off straight in the 
direction where some of my comrades ought to be. I 
expected every moment to hear shots and see one or two 
of the animals fall; but away they ambled southward, 
quite unchecked. At last, far to the south, crack went 
a rifle. I could see by the smoke that it was at too long 
a range ; so in high dudgeon I shouldered my rifle and 
lounged in the direction of the shot. It was pleasant to 
see such a good result for all one's trouble. 

No one was to be seen anywhere. At length I met 



1 66 


Sverdrup; it was he who had fired. Soon Blessing 
joined us, but all the others had long since left their 
posts. While Blessing went back to the boat and his 
botanizing box, Sverdrup and I went on to try our luck 
once more. A little farther south we came to a valley 
stretching right across the island. On the farther side 
of it we saw a man standing on a hillock, and not far 
from him a herd of five or six reindeer. As it never 
occurred to us to doubt that the man was in the act of 
stalking these, we avoided going in that direction, and 
soon he and his reindeer disappeared to the west. I 
heard afterwards that he had never seen the deer. As 
it was evident that when the reindeer to the south of us 
were startled they would have to come back across this 
valley, and as the island at this part was so narrow that 
we commanded the whole of it, we determined to take 
up our posts here and wait. We accordingly got in the 
lee of some great boulders, out of the wind. In front of 
Sverdrup was a large flock of geese, near the mouth of 
the stream, close down by the shore. They kept up an 
incessant gabble, and the temptation to have a shot at 
them was very great ; but, considering the reindeer, we 
thought it best to leave them in peace. They gabbled 
and waddled away down through the mud and soon took 

The time seemed long. At first we listened with all 
our ears — the reindeer must come very soon — and our 
eyes wandered incessantly backward and forward along 


(From a photograph taken in IS'Ju) 




the slope on the other side of the valley. But no reindeer 
came, and soon we were having a struggle to keep our 
eyes open and our heads up — we had not had much sleep 
the last few days. They must be coming ! We shook 
ourselves awake, and gave another look along the bank, 
till again the eyes softly closed and the heads began to 
nod, while the chill wind blew through our wet clothes, 
and I shivered with cold. This sort of thing went on for 
an hour or two, until the sport began to pall on me, and 
I scrambled from my shelter along towards Sverdrup, 
who was enjoying it about as much as I was. We 
climbed the slope on the other side of the valley, and 
were hardly at the top before we saw the horns of six 
splendid reindeer on a height in front of us. They were 
restless, scenting westward, trotting round in a circle, 
and then sniffing again. They could not have noticed 
us as yet, as the wind was* blowing at right angles to the 
line between them and us. We stood a long time 
watching their manoeuvres, and waiting their choice of 
a direction, but they had apparently great difficulty in 
making it. At last off they swung south and east, and 
off we went southeast as hard as we could go, to o-et 
across their course before they got scent of us. Sverdrup 
had got well ahead, and I saw him rushing across a flat 
piece of ground : presently he would be at the right place 
to meet them. I stopped, to be in readiness to cut them 
off on the other side if they should face about and make 
off northward again. There were six splendid animals, 


'4'* ' 




a big buck in front. They were heading straight for 

Sverdrup, who was now crouching down on the slope. 

I expected every moment to see the foremost fall. A 

shot rang out ! Round wheeled the whole flock like 

lightning, and back they came at a gallop. It was my 

turn now to run with all my might, and off I went over 

the stones, down towards the valley we had come from. 

\ only stopped once or twice to take breath, and to make 

sure that the animals were coming in the direction I had 

reckoned on — then off again. We were getting near 

each other now; they were coming on just where I had 

calculated; the thing now was to be in time for them. 

I made my long legs go their fastest over the boulders, 

and took leaps from stone to stone that would have 

surprised myself at a more sober moment. More than 

once my foot slipped, and I went down head first among 

the boulders, gun and all. But the wild beast in me had 

the upper hand now. The passion of the chase vibrated 

through every fibre of my body. 

We reached the slant of the valley almost at the same 
time — a leap or two to get up on some big boulders, and 
the moment had come — I must shoot, thousfh the shot 
was a long one. When the smoke cleared away I saw 
the big buck trailing a broken hind -leg. When their 
leader stopped, the whole flock turned and ran in a ring 
round the poor animal. They could not understand 
what was happening, and strayed about wildly with the 
balls whistling round them. Then off they went down 



the side of the valley again, leaving another of their 
number behind with a broken leg. I tore after them, 
across the valley and up the other side, in the hope of 
getting another shot, but gave that up and turned back 
to make sure of the two wounded ones. At the bottom 
of the valley stood one of the victims awaiting its fate. 
It looked imploringly at me, and then, just as I was go- 
ing forward to shoot it, made off much quicker than I 
could have thought it possible for an animal on three 
legs to go. Sure of my shot, of course I missed; and 
now began a chase, which ended in the poor beast, 
blocked in every other direction, rushing down towards 
the sea and wading into a small lagoon on the shore, 
whence I feared it might get right out into the sea. At 
last it got its quietus there in the water. The other one 
was not far off, and a ball soon put an end to its suffer- 
ings also. As I was proceeding to rip it up, Henriksen 
and Johansen appeared ; they had just shot a bear a little 
farther south. 

After disembowelling the reindeer, we went towards 
the boat again, meeting Sverdrup on the way. It was 
now well on in the morning, and as I considered that we 
had already spent too much time here, I was impatient 
to push northward. While Sverdrup and some of the 
others went on board to get ready for the start, the rest 
of us rowed south to fetch our two reindeer and our 
bear. A strong breeze had begun to blow from the 
northeast, and as it would be hard work for us to row 




M > 


back against it, I had asked Sveidiu]) to come and meet 
us with the Fram, if the soundings permitted of his do- 
ing so. We saw quantities of seal and white fish along 


(From a I'hotogra/'h) 

the shore, but we had not time to go after them ; all we 
wanted now was to get south, and in the first place to 
pick up the bear. When we came near the place where 
we expected to find it, we did see a large white heap 
resembling a bear lying on the ground, and I was sure it 
must be the dead one, but Henriksen maintained that it 
was not. We went ashore and approached it, as it lay 
motionless on a grassy bank. I still felt a strong sus- 



picion that it had ah-oady had all the shot it wanted. 
We drew nearer and nearer, but it gave no sign of life. 
I looked into Henriksen's honest face, to make sure that 
they were not playing a trick on me; but he was staring 
fixedly at the bear. As I looked, two shots went off, and 
to my astonishment the great creature bounded into the 
air, still dazed with sleep. Poor beast ! it was a harsh 
awakening. Another shot, and it fell lifeless. 

We first tried to drag the bears down to the boat, but 



lift ^* ""^ -«•• "" i-** *ifc-. JU m"! ■ ' - ■" _^ ^ -_- ^s, — ^- ^ _ ^ 



(By A. Eiebakke,froin a P/wlograph) 

they w-re too heavy for us; and we now had a hard 
piece ot work skinning and cutting them up, and carry- 
ing down all we wanted. But, bad as it was, trudsins 
through the soft clay with heavy quarters of bear on our 







backs, there was worse awaiting us on the beach. The 
tide had risen, and at the same time the waves had got 
larger and swamped the boat, and were now breaking 
over it. Guns and ammunition were soaking in the 
water; bits of bread, our only provision, floated round, 
and the butter-dish lay at the bottom, with no butter in 
it. It required no small exertion to get the boat drawn 
up out of this heavy surf and emptied of water. Luckily, 
it had received no injury, as the beach was of a soft sand; 
but the sand had penetrated with the water everywhere, 
even into the most delicate parts of the locks of our 
rifles. But worst of all was the loss of our provisions, for 
now we were ravenously hungry. We had to make the 
best of a bad business, and eat pieces of bread soaked 
in sea-water and flavored with several varieties of dirt. 
On this occasion, too, I lost my sketch-book, with some 
sketches that were of value to me. 

It was no easy task to get our heavy game into the 
boat with these big waves breaking on the flat beach. 
We had to keep the boat outside the surf, and haul both 
skins and flesh on board with a line ; a good deal of water 
came with them, but there was no help for it. And then 
we had to row north along the shore against the wind and 
sea as hard as we could. It was very tough work. The 
wind had increased, and it was all we could do to make 
headway against it. Seals were diving round us, wh?.te 
whales coming and going, but we had no eyes for them 
now. Suddenly Henriksen called out that there was a 



bear on the point in front. I turned round, and there 
stood a beautiful white fellow rummaging among the 
flotsam on the beach. As we had no time to shoot it, we 
rowed on, and it went slowly in front of us northward 
along the shore. At last, with great exertions, we reached 
the bay where we were to put in for the reindeer. The 
bear was there before us. It had not seen the boat 
hitherto ; but now it got scent of us, and came nearer. 
It was a tempting shot. I had my finger on the trigger 
several times, but did not draw it. After all, we had no 
use for the animal ; it was quite as much as we could 
do to stow away what we had already. It made a beau- 
tiful target of itself by getting up on a stone to have a 
better scent, and looked about, and, after a careful sur- 
vey, it turned round and set off inland at an easy trot. 

The surf was by this time still heavier. It was a flat, 
shallow shore, and the waves broke a good way out from 
land. We rowed in till the boat touched ground and 
the breakers began to wash over us. The only way of 
getting ashore was to jump into the sea and wade. But 
getting the reindeer on board was another matter. There 
was no better landing-place farther north, and hard as it 
was to give up the excellent meat after all our trouble, 
it seemed to me there was nothing else for it, and we 
rowed off towards our ship. 

It was the hardest row I ever had a hand in. It went 
pretty well to begin with ; we had the current with us, 
and got quickly out from land ; but presently the wind 



rose, the current slackened, and wave after wave broke 
over us. After incredible toil we had at last only a 
short way to go. I cheered up the good fellows as 
best I could, reminding them of the smoking hot tea that 
awaited them after a few more tough pulls, and picturing 
all the good things in store for them. We really were 
all pretty well done up now, but we still took a good grip 
of the oars, soaking wet as we were from the sea con- 
stantly breaking over us, for of course none of us had 
thought of such things as oilskins in yesterday's beautiful 
weather. But we soon saw that with all our pulling and 
toiling the boat was making no headway whatever. Apart 
from the wind and the sea we had the current dead 
against us here ; all our exertions were of no avail. We 
pulled till our finger-tips felt as if they were bursting ; 
but the most we could manage was to keep the boat 
where it was ; if we slackened an instant it drifted back. 
I tried to encourage my comrades : " Now we made 
a little way! It was just strength that was needed!" 
But all to no purpose. The wind whistled round 
our ears, and the spray dashed over us. It was mad- 
dening to be so near the ship that it seemed as if 
we could almost reach out to her, and yet feel that 
it was impossible to get on any farther. We had to 
go in under the land again, where we had the current 
with us, and here we did succeed in making a little 
progress. We rowed hard till we were about abreast of 
the ship ; then we once more tried to sheer across to 



(From (I (thotograph taken in December, AS.'/.?) 

; t 












f 4 



1 79 

her, but no sooner did we get into the current again 
than it mercilessly drove us back. Beaten again ! And 
again we tried the same manoeuvre with the same result. 
Now we saw them lowering a buoy from the ship — if 
we could only reach it we were saved; but we did not 
reach it. They were not exactly blessings that we 
poured on those on board. Why the deuce could they 
not bear down to us when they saw the straits we were 
in ; or why, at any rate, could they not ease up the an- 
chor, and let the ship drift a little in our direction .? They 
saw how little was needed to enable us to reach them. 
Perhaps they had their reasons. 

We would make our last desperate attempt. We 
went at it with a will. Every muscle was strained to 
the utmost — it was only the buoy we had to reach this 
time. But to our rage we now saw the buoy being 
hauled up. We rowed a little way on, to the windward 
of the Fram, and then tried again to sheer over. This 
time we got nearer her than we had ever been before ; 
but we were disappointed in still seeing no buoy, and 
none was thrown over; there was not even a man to be 
seen on deck. We roared like madmen for a buoy — we 
had no strength left for another a:ttempt. It was not a 
pleasing prospect to have to drift back, and go ashore 
again in our wet clothes — we would get on board ! Once 
more we yelled like wild Indians, and now they came 
rushing aft and threw out the buoy in our direction. 
One more cry to my mates that we must put our last 








I ? 

Strength into the work. There were only a few boat 
lengths to cover; we bent to our oars with a will. Now 
there were three boat lengths. Another desperate 
spurt. Now there were two and a half boat lengths— 
presently two — then only one ! A few more frantic 
pulls, and there was a little less. " Now, boys, one or 
two more hard pulls and it's over ! Hard ! hard ! ! Keep 
to it! Now another! Don't give up! One more!: 
There, we have it ! ! f And one joyful sigh of relief 
passed round the boat. " Keep the oars going or the 
rope will break. Row, boys !" And row we did, and 
soon they had hauled us alongside of the Fram. Not 
till we were lying there getting our bearskins and flesh 
hauled on board did we really know what we had had to- 
fight against. The current was running along the side 
of the ship like a rapid river. At last we were actuall)r 
on board. It was evening by this time, and it was splen- 
did to get some good hot food and then stretch one's 
limbs in a comfortable dry berth. There is a satisfaction 
in feeling that one has exerted one's self to some pur- 
pose. Here was the net result of four-and-twenty hours' 
hard toil: we had shot two reindeer which we did not 
get, got two bears that we had no use for, and had totally 
ruined one suit of clothes. Two washings had not the 
smallest effect upon them, and they hung on deck tO' 
air for the rest of this trip. 

I slept badly that night, for this is what I find in my 
diary: "Got on board after what I think was the 



hardest row I ever had. Slept well for a little, but am 
now lying tossing about in my berth, unable to sleep. 
Is it the coffee I drank after supper ? or the cold tea I 
drank when I awoke with a burning thirst.? I shut my 
eyes and try again time after time, but to no purpose. 
And now memory's airy visions steal softly over my 
soul. Gleam after gleam breaks through the mist. I 
see before me sunlit landscapes —smiling fields and 
meadows, green, leafy trees and woods, and blue moun- 
tain ridges. The singing of the steam in the boiler-pipe 
turns to bell -ringing — church bells — ringing in Sab- 
bath peace over Vestre-Aker on this beautiful summer 
morning. I am walking with father along the avenue 
of small birch-trees that mother planted, up towards the 
church, which lies on the height before us, pointing up 
into the blue sky and sending its call far over the 
country-side. From up there you can see a long way. 
Naesodden looks quite close in the clear air, especially on 
an autumn morning. And we give a quiet Sunday 
greeting to the people that drive past us, all going our 
way. What a look of Sunday happiness dwells on their 
faces ! 

" I did not think it all so delightful then, and would 
much rather have run off to the woods with my bow and 
arrow after squirrels — but now — how fair, how wonder- 
fully beautiful that sunlit picture seems to me ! The 
feeling of peace and happiness that even then no doubt 
made its impression, though only a passing one, comes 



J ! ' ! I 



. !'■! 


back now with redoubled strength, and all nature seems 
one mighty, thrilling song of praise ! Is it because of 
the contrast with this poor, barren, sunless land of mists 
—without a tree, without a bush — nothing but stones and 
clay? No peace in it either— nothing but an endless 
struggle to get north, always north, without a moment's 
delay. Oh, how one yearns for a little careless happi- 
ness !" 

Next day we were again ready to sail, and I tried to 
force the Fmm on under steam against wind and current. 
But the current ran strong as a river, and we had to 
be specially careful with the helm ; if we gave her the 
least thing too much she would take a sheer, and we 
knew there were shallows and rocks on all sides. We 
kept the lead going constantly. For a time all went well, 
and we made way slowly, but suddenly she took a sheer 
and refused to obey her helm. She went off to starboard. 
The lead indicated shallow water. The same moment 
came the order, " Let go the anchor!" And to the 
bottom it went with a rush and a clank. There we lay 
with 4 fathoms of water under the stern and 9 fathoms 
in front at the anchor. We were not a moment too soon. 
We got the Frams head straight to the wind, and tried 
again, time after time, but always with the same result. 
The attempt had to be given up. There was still the 
possibility of making our way out of the sound to lee- 
ward of the land, but the water got quickly shallow there, 
and we might come on rocks at any moment. We could 



have gone on in front with the boat and sounded, but I 
had ah-cady had more than enough of rowing in that 
current. For the present we must stay where we were 
and anoint ourselves with the ointment called Patience, 
a medicament of which every polar expedition ought to 
lay in a large supply. We hoped on for a change, but 
the current remained as it .vas, and the wind certainly 
did not decrease. I was in despair at having to lie here 
for nothing but this cursed current, with open sea out- 
side, perhaps as far as Cape Chelyuskin, that eternal cape, 
whose name had been sounding in my ears for the last 
three weeks. 

When I came on deck next morning (August 23d) 
winter had come. There was white snow on the deck, 
and on every little projection of the rigging where it 
had found shelter from the wind ; white snow on the 
land, and white snow floating through the air. Oh, 
how the snow refreshes one's soul, and drives away all 
the gloom and sadness from this sullen land of fogs! 
Look at it scattered so delicately, as if by a loving hand, 
over the stones and ' - '>-rass-flats on shore ! But wind 
and current are much • were, and during the day 

the wind blows up to a .. storm, howling and rat- 

tling in the Frams rigging, 

The following day (August 24th) I had quite made 
up my mind that we must get out some way or other. 
When I came on deck in the morning the wind had gone 
down considerably, and the current was not so strong. 



.' '' I 

i. :i 










A boat would almost be able to row against it ; anyhow 
one could be eased away by a line from the stern, and 
keep on taking soundings there, while we "kcdged" the 
Fram with her anchor just clear of the bottom. But 
before having recourse to this last expedient I would 
make another attempt to go against the wind and the 
current. The engineers were ordered to put on as 
much pressure of steam as they dared, and the Fram 
was urged on at her top speed. Our surprise was not 
small when we saw that we were making way, and even 
at a tolerable rate. Soon we were out of the sound or 
*' Knipa " (nipper) as we christened it, and could beat out 
to sea with steam and sail. Of course, we had, as usual, 
contrary wind and thick weather. There is ample space 
between every little bit of sunshine in these quarters. 

Next day we kept on beating northward between the 

edge of the ice and the land. The open channel was 

broad to begin with, but farther north it became so 

narrow that we could often see the coast when we put 

about at the edge of the ice. At this time we passed 

many unknown islands and groups of islands. There 

was evidently plenty of occupation here, for any one 

who could spare the time, in making a chart of the 

coast. Our voyage had another aim, and all that we 

could do was to make a few occasional measurements of 

the same nature as Nordenskiold had made before us. 

On August 25th I noted in my diary that in the 
afternoon we had seven islands in sight. They were 



{From a photograpk taken in 18%) 

'f % 

'lii i. ! 

. < i 




higher than those we had seen before, and consisted of 
precipitous hills. There were also small glaciers or 
snovv-ficlds, and the rock formation showed clear traces 
of erosion by ice or snow, this being especially the case 
on the largest island, where there were even small valleys, 
partially filled with snow. 

This is the record of August 26th : " Many new isl- 
ands in various directions. There are here," the diary 
continues, "any number of unknown islands, so many 
that one's head gets confused in trying to keep account 
of them all. In the morning we passed a very rocky 
one, and beyond it I saw two others. After them land 
or islands farther to the north and still more to the north- 
<iast. We had to go out of our course in the afternoon, 
because we dared not pass between two large islands on 
account of possible shoals. The islands were round in 
form, like those we had seen farther back, but were of 
a good height. Now we held east again, with four big- 
gish islands and two islets in the offing. On our other 
side we presently had a line of flat islands with steep 
shores. The channel was far from safe here. In the 
evening we suddenly noticed large stones standing up 
above the water among some ice-fioes close on our port 
bow, and on our starboard beam was a shoal with stranded 
ice-floes. We sounded, but found over 21 fathoms of 

I think this will suffice to give an idea of the nature 
of this coast. Its belt of skerries, though it certainly can- 

t i 

1 . 


IV ■|i 

' "'V 



V )': 

1 88 


not be classed with the Norwegian one, is yet of the 
kind that it would be difficult to find except off glacier- 
formed coasts. This tends to strengthen the opinion I 
had formed of there having been a glacial period in the 
earlier history of this part of the world also. Of tiiC 
coast itself, we unfortunately saw too little at any dis- 
tance from which we could get an accurate idea of its 
formation and nature. We could not keep near land, 
partly because of the thick weather, and partly because 
of the number of islands. The little I did see was 
enough to give me the conviction that the actual coast 
line differs essentially from the one we know from maps; 
it is much more winding and indented than it is shown 
to be. I even several times thought that I saw the 
openings into deep fjords, and more than once the sus- 
picion occurred to me that this was a typical fjord coun- 
try we were sailing past, in spite of the hills being com- 
paratively low and rounded. In this supposition I was 
to be confirmed by our experiences farther north. 

Our record of August 27th reads as follows: "Steamed 
among a variety oi small islands and islets. Thick fog 
in the morning. At 1 2 noon we saw a small island right 
ahead, and therefore changed our course and went north. 
We were soon close to the ice, and after 3 in the after- 
noon held northeast along its edge. Sighted land when 
the fog cleared a little, and were about a mile off it at 

7 P.M." 

It was the same striated, rounded land, covered with 



clay and large and small stones strewn over moss and 
grass flats. Before us we saw points and headlands, 
with islands outside, and sounds and fjords between ; but 
it was all locked up in ice, and we could not see far for 
the fog. There was that strange Arctic hush and misty 
light over everything— that grayish-white light caused by 
the reflection from the ice being cast high into the air 
against masses of vapor, the dark land offering a won- 
derful contrast. We were not sure whether this was 
the land near Taimur Sound or that by Cape Palander, 
but were agreed that in any case it would be best to hold 
a northerly course, so as to keep clear of Almquist's 
Islands, which Nordenskiold marks on his map as lying 
off Taimur Island. If we shaped our course for one 
watch north, or north to west, we should be safe after 
that, and be able again to hold farther east. But we 
miscalculated, after all. At midnight we turned north- 
eastward, and at 4 a.m. (August 28th) land appeared out 
of the fog about half a mile off. It seemed to Sverdrup, 
who was on deck, the highest that we had seen since we 
left Norway. He consequently took it to be the main- 
land, and wished to keep well outside of it, but was 
obliged to turn from this course because of ice. We 
held to the W.S.W., and it was not till 9 a.m. that we 
rounded the western point of a large island and could 
steer north again. East of us were many islands or 
points with solid ice between them, and we followed 


the edge of the ice. 

All the morning we went north 

/ ''I 




along the land against a strong current. There seemed 
to be no end to this land. Its discrepancy with every 
known map grew more and more remarkable, and I was 
in no slight dilemma. We had for long been far to 
the north of the most northern island indicated by 
Nordenskiold.* My diary this day tells of great uncer- 
tainty. " This land (or these islands, or whatever it is) 
goes confoundedly far north. If it is a group of islands 
they are tolerably large ones. It has often the appearance 
of connected land, with fjords and points; but the weather 
is too thick for us to get a proper view. . , . Can this that 
we are now coasting along be the Taimur's Island of the 
Russian maps (or more precisely, Lapteff's map), and is 
it separated from the mainland by the broad strait 
indicated by him, while Nordenskiold's Taimur Island 
is what Lapteff has mapped as a projecting tongue of 
land .? This supposition would explain everything, and 
our observations would also fit in with it. Is it possible 
that Nordenskiold found this strait, and took it for Taimur 
Strait, while in reality it was a new one; and that he 
saw Almquist's Islands, but had no suspicion that Taimur 
Island lay to the outside of them.? The difficulty about 
this explanation is that the Russian maps mark no islands 
round Taimur Island. It is inconceivable that any one 

* It is true that in his account of the voyage he expressly states liiat 
the continued very thick fog "prevented us from doing more than map- 
ping out most vaguely the islands among and past which the Vega sought 
her way." 



should have travelled all about here in sledges without 
seeing all these small islands that lie scattered around.* 

" In the afternoon the water-gauge of the boiler got 
choked up ; we had to stop to have it repaired, and 
therefore made fast to the edge of the ice. We spent 
the time in taking in drinking-water. We found a pool 
on the ice, so small that we thought it would only do tO' 
begin with; but it evidently had a "subterranean" 
communication with other fresh-water ponds on the floe. 
To our astonishment it proved inexhaustible, however 
much we scooped. In the evening we stood in to the head 
of an ice bay, which opened out opposite the most northern 
island we then had in sight. There was no passage 
beyond. The broken drift-ice lay packed so close in 
on the unbroken land-ice that it was impossible to tell 
where the one ended and the other began. We could see 
islands still farther to the northeast. From the atmos- 
phere it seemed as if there might also be open water in 
that direction. To the north it all ' )oked very close, 
but to the west there was an open waterway as far as 
one could see from the masthead. I was in some doubt 

* Later, when I had investigated the state of matters outside Norden- 
skiold's Taimur Island, it seemed to me that the same remark applied 
here with even better reason, as no sledge expedition could go round the 
coast of this island without seeing Almquist's Islands, which lie so near, 
for instance, to Cape LaptefT, that they ought to be seen even in very 
thick weather. It would be less excusable to omit marking these islands, 
which are much larger, than to omit the small ones lying oflf the coast of 
the large island (or as I now consider it, group of large islands) we were at 
present skirting. 



\h (I 

as to what should be done. There was an open channel 
for a short way up past the north point of the nearest 
island, but farther to the east the ice seemed to be close. 
It might be possible to force our way through there, 
but it was just as likely that we should be frozen in ; so I 
thought it most judicious to go back and make another 
attempt between these islands and that mainland which 
I had some difficulty in believing that Sverdrup had seen 
in the morning. 

" Thursday, August 20th. Still foggy weather. New 
islands were observed on the way back. Sverdrup's 
high land did not come to much. It turned out to be an 
island, and that a low one. It is wonderful the way 
things loom up in the fog. This reminded me of the 
story of the pilot at home in the Drobak Channel. He 
suddenly saw land right in front, and gave the order, 
' Full speed astern !' Then they approached carefully 
and found that it was half a baling-can floating in the 

After passing a great number of nev; islands we 
got into open water off Taimur Island, and steamed in 
still weather through the sound to the northeast. At 
5 in the afternoon I saw from the crow's-nest thick ice 
ahead, which blocked farther progress. It stretched from 
Taimur Island right across to the islands south of it. On 
the ice bearded seals {P/ioca barbatd) were to be seen in 
all directions, and we saw one walrus. We approached 
the ice to make fast to it, but the Fram had got into 




IFroiii a fhotograph taken hi Dece niter, 1S!I3) 




1 : 


' w 









ft '/ 



dead-water, and made hardly any way, in spite of the 
engine going full pressure. It was such slow work that 
I thought I would row ahead to shoot seal. In the mean- 
time the Fram advanced slowly to the edge of the ice 
with her machinery still going at full speed. 

For the moment we had simply to give up all thoughts 
of getting on. It was most likely, indeed, that only a few 
miles of solid ice lay between us and the probably open 
Taimur Sea; but to break through this ice was an impos- 
sibility. It was too thick, and there were no openings in 
it. Nordenskiold had steamed through here earlier in 
the year (August 18, 1878) without the slightest hinder- 
ance,* and here, perhaps, our hopes, for this year at any 
rate, were to be wrecked. It was not possible that the ice 
should melt before winter set in in earnest. The only 
thing to save us would be a proper storm from the south- 
west. Our other slight hope lay in the possibility that 
Nordenskiold's Taimur Sound farther south might be 
open, and that we might manage to get the Fram through 
there, in spite of Nordenskiold having said distinctly "that 
it is too shallow to allow of the passage of vessels of any 

After having been out in the kayak and boat and shot 


'i= In his account of his voyage Nordenskiold writes as follows of the 
condition of this channel : " We were met by only small quantities of that 
sort of ice which has a layer of fresh-water ice on the top of the salt, and 
we noticed that it was all melting fjord or river ice. I hardly think that 
we came all day on a single piece of ice big enough to have cut up a seal 


:i n 




some seals, we went on to anchor in a bay that lay rather 
farther south, where it seemed as if there would be a 
little shelter in case of a storm. We wanted now to 
have a thorough cleaning out of the boiler, a \'ery neces- 
sary operation. It took us more than one watch to 
steam a distance we could have rowed in half an 
hour or less. We could hardly get on at all for the 
dead-water, and we swept the whole sea along with us. 
It is a peculiar phenomenon, this dead-water. We had 
at present a better opportunity of studying it than we 
desired. It occurs where a surface layer of fresh water 
rests upon the salt water of the sea, and this fresh 
water is carried along with the ship, gliding on the 
heavier sea beneath as if on a fixed foundation. The 
difference between the two strata was in this case so 
great that, while we had drinking-water on the surface, 
the water we got from the bottom cock of the engine- 
room was far too salt to be used for the boiler. Dead- 
water manifests itself in the form of larger or smaller 
ripples or waves stretching across the wake, the one 
behind the other, arising sometimes as far forward as 
almost amidships. We made loops in our course, turned 
sometimes right round, tried all sorts of antics to o-et 
clear of it, but to very little purpose. The moment the 
engine stopped it seemed as if the ship were sucked 
back. In spite of the Frams weight and the mo- 
mentum she usually has. we could in the present in- 
stance go at full speed till within a fathom or two of 

• t 



the edge of the ice, and hardly feel a shock when she 

Just as we were approaching we saw a fox jump- 
ing backward and forward on the ice, taking the most 
wonderful leaps and enjoying life. Sverdrup sent a 
ball from the forecastle which put an end to it on the 

About midday two bears were seen on land, but they 
disappeared before we got in to shoot them. 

The number of seals to be seen in every direction was 
something extraordinary, and it seemed to me that this 
would be an uncommonly good hunting-ground. The 
flocks I saw this first day on the ice reminded me of 
the crested-seal hunting-grounds on the west coast of 

This experience of ours may appear to contrast 
strangely with that of the Vega expedition. Uorden- 
skiold writes of this sea, comparing it with the sea 
to the north and east of Spitsbergen: "Another strik- 
ing difference is the scarcity of warm-blooded animals in 
this region as yet unvisited by the hunter. We had not 
seen a single bird in the whole course of the day, a 
thing that had never before happened to me on a sum- 
mer voyage in the Arctic regions, and we had hardly 
seen a seal." The fact that they had not seen a seal is 
simply enough exj^lained by the absence of ice. From 
my impression of it, the region must, on the contrary, 
abound in seals. Nordenskiold himself says that "num- 

i i 



bers of seals, both Phoca barbata and Phoca hispida, 
were to be seen" on the ice in Taimur Strait. 

So this was all the progress we had made up to the 
end of August. On August i.S, 1S78, Nordenskiold had 
passed through this sound, and on the 19th and 20th 
passed Cape Chelyuskin, but here was an impenetrable 
mass of ice frozen on to the land lying in our way at the 
end of the month. The prospect was anything but 
cheering. Were the many prophets of evil — there is 
never any scarcity of them — to prove right even at this 
early stage of the undertaking,? No! The Taimur 
Strait must be attempted, and should this attempt fail 
another last one should be made outside all the islands 
again. Possibly the ice masses out there might in the 
meantime have drifted and left an open way. We could 
not stop here. 

September came in with a still, melancholy snowfall, 
and this desolate land, with its low, rounded heights, soon 
lay under a deep covering. It did not add to our cheer- 
fulness to see winter thus gently and noiselessly ushered 
in after an all too short summer. 

On September 2d the boiler was ready at last, was 
filled with fresh water from the sea surface, and we pre- 
pared to start. While this preparation was going on 
Sverdrup and I went ashore to have a look after rein- 
deer. The iiow was lying thick, and if it had not been 
so wet we could have used our snow-shoes. As it was, 
we tramped about in the heavy slush without them, and 



without seeing so much as the track of a beast of any 
kind. A forlorn land, indeed ! Most of the bird.- of 
passage had ah'eady taken their way south; we had met 
small flocks of them at sea. They were collectinu for 
the great flight to the sunshine, and we, poor souls, could 
not help wishing that it were possible to send news and 
greeting with them. A few solitary Arctic and ordinary 
gulls were our only company now. One day I found a 
belated straggler of a goose sitting on the edge of 
the ice. 

We steamed south in the evening, but still followed 
by the dead-water. According to Nordenskiold's map, it 
was only about 20 miles to Taimur Strait, but we were 
the whole night doing this distance. Our speed was 
reduced to about a fifth part of what it would otherwise 
have been. At 6 a.m. (September 3d) we got in among 
some thin ice that scraped the dead-water off us. llie 
chan ,e was noticeable at once. As the Fram cut into 
the ice crust she gave a sort of spring forward, and, after 
this, went on at her ordinary speed ; and henceforth we 
had very little more trouble with dead-water. 

We found what, according to the map, was Taimur 
Strait entirely blocked with ice, and we held farther 
south, to see if we could not come upon some other 
strait or passage. It was not an easy matter findino- 
our way by the map. We had not seen Hovgaard's 
Islands, marked as lying north of the entrance to Tai- 
mur Strait; yet the weather was so beautifully clear 





I ■ i 


that it sccmL'd unlikely tliey could have escaped us if 
they lay where Nordenskiiild's sketch-map places thcni. 
On the other hand, we saw several islands in the offing. 
These, however, lay so far out that it is not jjrobable that 
Nordeiiskiold saw them, as the weather was thick when 
he was here; and, besides, it is impossible that islands 
lying many miles out at sea could have been maiJjjed 
as close to land, with only a narrow sound sejjarating 
them from it. Farther south we found a narrow open 
strait or fjord, which we steamed into, in order if possible 
to get some better idea of the lay of the land. I sat up 
in the crow's-nest, hoping for a general clearing up of 
matters; but the prospect of this seemed to recede 
farther and farther. What we now had to the north of 
us, and what I had taken to be a projection of the main- 
land, proved to be an island ; but the fjord wourid on 
farther inland. Now it got narrower — presently it 
widened out again. The mystery thickened. Could 
this be Taimur Strait, after all t A dead calm on the 
sea. Fog everywhere over the land. It was wellnigh 
impossible to distinguish the smooth surface of the water 
from the ice, and the ice from the snow-covered land. 
Everything is so strangely still and dead. The sea rises 
and falls with each twist of the fjord through the silent 
land of mists. Now we have open water ahead, now 
more ice, and it is impossible to make sure which it is. 
Is this Taimur .Strait.^ Are we iiettinu: throuuh ? A 
whole year is at stake! ... No! here we stop— nothing 


20 r 

but ice ahead. No! it is only smooth water with the 
snowy land reflected in it. This viust be 'laimur Strait! 
But now we had several large ice-floes ahead, and it 
was difficult to get on ; so we anchored at a point, in a 
good, safe harbor, to make a closer inspection. We now 
discovered that it was a strong tidal current that was car- 
rying the ice-floes with it, and there could be no doubt 
that it was a strait we were lying in. I rowed out in the 
evening to shoot some seals, taking for the purpose my 
most precious weapon, a double-barrelled Kxpress rifle, 
calibre 577. As we were in the act of taking a sealskin 
on board the boat heeled over, I slipped, and my rifle fell 
into the sea — a sad accident. Peter Henriksen and 
Ik-ntzen, who were rowing me, took it so to heart that 
the\' could not speak for some time. They declared that 
it would never do to leave the valuable gun lying there 
in 5 fathoms of water. So we rowed to the Fram for the 
necessary apparatus, and dragged the spot for several 
hours, well on into the dark, gloomy night. While we 
were thus employed a bearded seal circled round and 
round us, bobbing up its big startled face, now on one side 
of us, now on the other, and always coming nearer; it was 
evidently anxious to find out what our night work might 
be. Then it dived over and over again, probably to see 
how the dragging was getting on. Was it afraid of our 
finding the rifle.? At last it became too intrusive. I 
took Peter's rifle, and put a ball through its head; but it 
sank before we could reach it, and we gave up the whole 



V . I 



business in despair. The loss of that rifle saved the life 
of many a seal ; and, alas! it had cost me ^28. 

We took the boat again next day and rowed eastward, 
to find out if there really was a passage for us through 
this strait. It had turned cold during the night and 
snow had fallen, so the sea round the Fram was covered 
with tolerably thick snow-ice, and it cost us a good deal 
of exertion to break through it into open water with the 
boat. I thought it possible that the land farther in on 
the north side of the strait might be that in the neio-h- 
borhood of Actinia Bay, where the Vega had lain ; but 
I sought in vain for the cairn erected there by Norden- 
skioid, and presently discovered to my astonishment that 
it was only a small island, and that this island lay on the 
south side of the principal entrance to Taimur Strait. 
The strait was very broad here, and I felt pretty certain 
that I saw where the real Actinia Bay cut into the land 
far to the north. 

We were hungry now, and were preparing to take a 
meal before we rowed on from the island, when we 
discovered to our disappointment that the butter had 
been forgotten. We crammed down the dry biscuits as 
best we could, and worked our jaws till they were stiff 
on the pieces we managed to hack off a hard dried rein- 
deer chine. When we were tired of eating, though any- 
thing but satisfied, we set off, giving this point the name 
of "Cape Butterless." We rowed far in through the 
strait, and it seemed to us to be a good passage for ships 



— 8 or 9 fathoms right up to the shore. However, we 
were stopped by ice in the evening, and as we ran the 
risk of being frozen in if we pushed on any farther I 
thought it best to turn. We certainly ran no dancrer 
of starving, for we saw fresh tracks both of bears and 
reindeer everywhere, and there were plenty of seals in 
the water; but I was afraid of delaying the Fram, in 
view of the possibility of progress in another direction. 
So we toiled back against a strong wind, not reachino- 
the ship till next morning; and this was none too early, 
for presently we were in the midst of a storm. 

On the subject of the navigability of Taimur Strait, 
Nordenskiold writes that, " according to soundings made 
by Lieutenant Palander, it is obstructed by rocky shal- 
lows; and being also full of strong currents, it is hardly 
advisable to sail through it— at least, until the direction 
of these currents has been carefully investigated." I 
have nothing particular to add to this, except that, as 
already mentioned, the channel was clear as far as we 
penetrated, and had the appearance of being practicable 
as far as I could see. I was, therefore, determined that 
we would, if necessary, try to force our way through with 
the Fram. 

The 5th of September brought snow with a stiff breeze, 
which steadily grew stronger. When it was rattlinsr in 
the rigging in the evening we congratulated each other 
on being safe on board — it would not have been an easy 
matter to row back to-day. But altogether I was dis- 



'P t 

I ti I I 

M it 

i I 

satisfied. There was some chance, indeed, that this wind 
might loosen the ice farther north, and yesterday's ex- 
periences had given me the hope of being able, in case 
of necessity, to force a way through this strait; but now 
the wind was steadily driving larger masses of ice in past 
us; and this approach of winter was alarming— it might 
quite well be on us in earnest before any channel was 
opened. I tried to reconcile myself to the idea of winter- 
ing in our present surroundings. I had already laid all 
the plans for the way in which we were to occujDy our- 
selves during the coming year. Besides an investigation 
of this coast, which offered problems enough to solve, 
we were to explore the unknown interior of the Taimur 
Peninsula right across to the mouth of the Chatano;a. 
With our dogs and snow-shoes we should be able to tro 
far and wide ; so the year would not be a lost one as 
regarded geography and geology. But no ! I coi'id not 
reconcile myself to it! I could not! A year of one's life 
was a year; and our expedition promised to be a long 
one at best. What tormented me most was the reflec- 
tion that if the ice stopped us now we could have no 
assurance that it would not do the same at the same 
time next year; it has been observed so often that sev- 
eral bad ice-years come together, and this was evidently 
none of the best. Though I would hardly confess the 
feeling of depression even to myself, I must say that it 
was not on a bed of roses I lay these nights until sleep 
came and carried me off into the land of forgetful ness. 



{From It fhotograftlt taken in IS'J':) 

t i 


i t 


m ■ 'K 

■■;'' '^^ 




Wednesday, the 6th of September, was the anniversary 
of my wedding-day. I was superstitious enough to feel 
when I awoke in the morning that this day would 
bring a change, if one were coming at all. The storm 
had gone down a little, the sun peeped out, and life 
seemed brighter. The wind quieted down altogether in 
the course of the afternoon, the weather becoming calm 
and beautiful. The strait to the north of us, which was 
blocked before with solid ice, had been swept open by 
the storm ; but the strait to the east, where we had been 
with the boat, was firmly blocked, and if we had not 
turned when we did that evening we should have been 
there yet, and for no one knows how long. It seemed 
to us not improbable that the ice between Cape Lapteff 
and Almquist's Islands might be broken up. We there- 
fore got up steam and set off north about 6.30 - 
try our fortune once more. I felt quite sure that the 
day would bring us luck. The weather was still beauti- 
ful, and we were thoroughly enjoying the sunshine. It 
was such an unusual thing that Nordahl, when he was 
working among the coals in the hold in the afternoon, 
mistook a sunbeam falling through the hatch on the coal 
dust for a plank, and leaned hard on it. He was not 
a little surprised when he fell right through it on to 
some iron lumber. 

It became more and more difificult to make anything 
of the land, and our observation for latitude at noon 
did not help to clear up matters. It placed us at 76° 2' 

t ) 



north latitude, or about 14 miles from what is marked as 
the mainland on Nordenskiold's or Bove's map. It was 
hardly to be expected that these should be correct, as the 
weather seems to have been foggy the whole time the 
explorers were here. 

Nor were we successful in finding Hovgaard's Isl- 
ands as we sailed north. When I supposed that we 
were off them, just on the north side of the entrance to 
Taimur Strait, I saw, to my surprise, a high mountain 
almost directly north of us, which seemed as if it must 
be on the mainland. What could be the explanation of 
this ? I began to have a growing suspicion that this was 
a regular labyrinth of islands we had got into. We were 
hoping to investigate and clear up the matter when 
thick weather, with sleet and rain, most inconveniently 
came on, and we had to leave this problem for the future 
to solve. 

The mist was thick, and soon the darkness of night 
was added to it, so that we could not see land at any 
great distance. It might seem rather risky to push ahead 
now, but it was an opportunity not to be lost. We 
slackened speed a little, and kept on along the coast all 
night, in readiness to turn as soon as land was observed 
ahead. Satisfied that things were in good hands, as it 
was Sverdrup's watch, I lay down in my berth with a 
lighter mind than I had had for long. 

At 6 o'clock next morning (September 7th) Sverdrup 
roused me with the information that we had passed 



Taimur Island, or Cape Lapteff, at 3 a.m., and were now 
at Taimur Bay, but with close ice and an island ahead. 
It was possible that we might reach the island, as a 
channel had just opened through the ice in that direc- 
tion ; but we were at present in a tearing " whirlpool " 
current, and should be obliged to put back for the mo- 
ment. After breakfast I went up into the crow's-nest. 
It was brilliant sunshine. I found that Sverdrup's island 
must be mainland, which, however, stretched remarkably 
far west compared with that given on the maps. I could 
still see Taimur Island behind me, and the most easterly 
of Almquist's Islands lay gleaming in the sun to the 
north. It was a long, sandy point that we had ahead, 
and I could follow the land in a southerly direction till 
it disappeared on the horizon at the head of the bay in 
the south. Then there was a small strip where no land, 
only open water, could be made out. After that the land 
emerged on the west side of the bay, stretching towards 
Taimur Island. With its heights and round knolls this 
land was essentially different from the low coast on the 
east side of the bay. 

To the north of the point ahead of us I saw open 
water ; there was some ice between us and it, but the 
Fram forced her way through. When we got out, right 
off the point, I was surprised to notice the sea suddenly 
covered with brown, clayey water. It could not be a 
deep layer, for the track we left behind was quite clear. 
The clayey water seemed to be skimmed to either side 






•A I 

by the passage of the ship. I ordered soundings to 
be taken, and found, as I expected, shallower water — 
first 8 fathoms, then 6.^, then 5JI. I stopped now. and 
backed. Things looked very suspicious, and round us 
ice-floes lay stranded. There was also a very strong cur- 
rent running northeast. Constantly sounding, we again 
went slowly forward. Fortunately the lead went on 
showing 5 fathoms. Presently we got into deeper water 
— 6 fathoms, then 6A — and now we went on at full speed 
again. We were soon out into the clea'-, blue water on 
the other side. There was quite a sharp boundary-line 
between the brown surface water and the clear blue. 
The muddy water evidently came from some river a little 
farther south. , 

From this point the land trended back in an easterly 
direction, and we held east and northeast in the open 
water between it and the ice. In the afternoon this 
channel grew very narrow, and we got right under the 
coast, where it again slopes north. We kept close along 
it in a very narrow cut, with a depth of 6 to 8 fathoms, 
but in the evening had to stop, as the ice lay packed 
close in to the shore ahead of us. 

This land we had been coasting along bore a strong 
resemblance to Yalmal. The same low plains, rising 
very little above the sea, and not visible at any great 
distance. It was perhaps rathe'- more undulating. At 
one or two places I even saw some ridges of a certain 
elevation a little way inland. The shore the whole way 



seemed to be formed of strata of sand and clay, the 
margin sloping steeply to the sea. 

Many reindeer herds were to be seen on the plains, 
and next morning (September 8th) I went on shore on 
a hunting expedition. Having shot one reindeer I was 
on my way farther inland in search of more, when I 
made a surprising discovery, which attracted all my 
attention and made me quite forget the errand I had 
come on. It was a large fjord cutting its way in 
through the land to the north of me. I went as far 
as possible to find out all I could about it, but did not 
manage to see the end of it. So far as I could see, it 
was a fine broad sheet of water, stretching eastward to 
some blue mountains far, far inland, which, at the ex- 
treme limit of my vision, seemed to slope down to the 
water. Beyond them I could distinguish nothing. My 
imagination was fired, and for a moment it seemed to 
me as if this might almost be a strait, stretching right 
across the land here, and making an island of the Chel- 
yuskin Peninsula. But probably it was only a river, 
which widened out near its mouth into a broad lake, 
as several of the Siberian rivers do. All about the clay 
plains I was tramping over, enormous erratic blocks, of 
various formations, lay scattered. They can only have 
been brought here by the great glaciers of the Ice 
Age. There was not much life to be seen. Besides 
reindeer there were just a few willow-grouse, snow-bunt- 
ings, and snipe; and I saw tracks of foxes and lem- 






mings. This farthest nojth part of Siberia is quite un- 
inhabited, and has probably not been visited even by 
the wandering nomaj.- However, I saw a circular moss- 
heap on a plain far inland, which looked as if it mi<rht 
be the work of man's hand. Perhaps, after all, some 
Samoyede had been here collecting moss for his rein- 
deer; but it must have been long ago; for the moss 
looked quite black and rotten. The heap was quite 
possibly only one of Nature's freaks — she is often ca- 

What a constant alternation of light and shadow 
there is in this Arctic land. When I went up to the 
crow's-nest next morning (September 9th) I saw that 
the ice to the north had loosened from the land, and 
I could trace a channel which might lead us north- 
ward into open water. I at once gave the order to 
get up steam. The barometer was'' certainly low — 
lower than we had ever had it yet; it was down to 733 
mm.— the wind was blowing in heavy squalls off the 
land, and in on the plains the gusts were whirling up 
clouds of sand and dust. 

Sverdrup thought it would be safer to stay where we 
were ; but it would be too annoying to miss this splendid 
opportunity; and the sunshine was so beautiful, and the 
sky so smiling and reassuring. I gave orders to set sail, 
and soon we were pushing on northward through the ice, 
under steam, and with every stitch of canvas that we 
could crowd on. Cape Chelyuskin must be vanquished! 


it MB«'^ 


(Fyoiii ll photogrnfh taken in December, 1H93) 



Never had the Fyam gone so fast; she made more 
than 8 knots by the log; it seemed as though she know 
how much depended on her getting on. Soon we were 
through the ice, and had open water along the land as 
far as the eye could reach. We passed point after point, 
discovering new fjords and islands on the way, and soon 
I thought that I caught a glimpse through the large 
telescope of some mountains far away north ; they must 
be in the neighborhood of Cai)e Chelyuskin itself. 

The land along which we to-day coasted to the north- 
ward was quite low, some of it like what I had seen on 
shore the previous day. At some distance from the low 
coast, fairly high mountains or mountain chains were to 
be seen. Some of them seemed to consist of horizontal 
sedimentary sciiist; they were flat-topped, with precipi- 
tous sides. Farther inland the mountains were all white 
with snow. At one point it seemed as if the whole range 
were covered with a sheet of ice, or great snow-field that 
spread itself down the sides. At the edge of this sheet I 
could see projecting masses of rock, but all the inner part 
was spotless white. It seemed almost too continuous 
and even to be new snow, and looked like a permanent 
snow mantle. 

Nordenskiold's map marks at this place, " high moun- 
tain chains inland "; and this agrees with our observa- 
tions, though I cannot assert that the mountains are of 
any considerable height. But when, in agreement with 
earlier maps, he marks at the same place, " high, rocky 







i .1 





V \ 

coast," his terms are open to objection. The coast 
is, as already mentioned, quite low, and consists, in 
great part at least, of layers of clay or loose earth. 
Nordenskiold either took this last description from the 
earlier, unreliable maps, or possibly allowed himself to 
be misled by the fog which beset them during their 
voyage in these waters. 

In the evening we were approaching the north end of 
the land, but the current, which we had had with us 
earlier in the day, was now against us, and it seemed 
as if we were never to get past an island that lay off the 
shore to the north of us. The mountain height which 
I had seen at an earlier hour through the telescope lay 
here some way inland. It was flat on the top, with 
precipitous sides, like those mountains last described. 
It seemed to be sandstone or basaltic rock ; only the 
horizontal strata of the ledges on its sides were not 
visible. I calculated its height at looo to 1500 feet. 
Out at sea we saw several new islands, the nearest of 
them being of some size. 

The moment seemed to be at hand when we were at 
last to round that point which had haunted us for so 
long— the second of the greatest difficulties I expected 
to have to overcome on this expedition. I sat up in 
the crow's-nest in the evening, looking out to the north. 
The land was low and desolate. The sun had long 
since gone down behind the sea, and the dreamy even- 
ing sky was yellow and gold. It was lonely and still 


up here, high above the water. Only one star was to be 
seen. It stood straight above Cape Chelyuskin, shining 
clearly and sadly in the pale sky. As we sailed on and 
got the cape more to the east of us the star went with 
it ; it was always there, straight above. I could not help 
sitting watching it. It seemed to have some charm for 
me, and to bring such peace. Was it my star.? Was it 
the spirit of home following and smiling to me now.? 
Many a thought it brought to me as the Fram toiled on 
through the melancholy night, past the northernmost 
point of the old world. 

Towards morning we weie off what we took to be 
actually the northern extremity. We stood in near 
land, and at the change of the watch, exactly at 4 
o'clock, our flags were hoisted, and our three last car- 
tridges sent a thundering salute over the sea. Almost 
at the same moment the sun rose. Then our poetic 
doctor burst forth into the following touching lines: 

" Up go the flags, oft" goes the gun ; 
The clock strikes four— and lo, the sun !" 



As the sun rose, the Chelyuskin troll, that had so long 
had us in his power, was banned. We had escaped the 
danger of a winter's imprisonment on this coast, and we 
saw the way clear to our goal— the drift-ice to the north 
of the New Siberian Islands. In honor of the occasion 
all hands were turned out, and punch, fruit, and cigars 
were served in the festally lighted saloon. Somethincr 



special in the way of a toast was expected on such an 
occasion. I lifted my glass, and made the following 
speech: "Skoal, my lads, and be glad we've passed 
Chelyuskin !" Then there was some organ-playing, dur- 



*' 'f 

ing which I went up into the crow's-nest again, to have a 
last look at the land. I now saw that the height I iiad 
noticed in the evening, which has already been described, 
lies on the west side of the peninsula, while farther 
east a lower and more rounded height stretches south- 
ward. This last must be the one mentioned by Nor- 
denskiold, and, according to his description, the real 
north point must lie out beyond it; so that we were now 
off King Oscar's Bay; but I looked in vain through the 
telescope for Nordenskiold's cairn. I had the greatest 
inclination to land, but did not think that we could spare 
the time. The ba)-, which was clear of ice at the time of 
the Vegas visit, was now closed in with thick winter ice, 
frozen fast to the land. 

We had an open channel before us ; but we could see 
the edge of the drift-ice out at sea. A little farther we-t 



we passed a couple of small irslands, lying a short way 
from the coast. We had to stop before noon at the 
northwestern corner of Chelyuskin, on account of the 
drift-ice which seemed to reach right into the land be- 
fore us. To judge by the dark air, there was open water 
again on the other side of an island which lay ahead. 
We landed and made sure that some straits or fjords 


on the inside of this island, to the south, were quite 
closed with firm ice; and in the evening the Fram 
forced her way through the drift-ice on the outside of 
it. We steamed and sailed southward along the coast 


% «' 

\ i 

j| i 




all night, making splendid way; when the wind was 
blowing stiffest we went at the rate of 9 knots. We 
came upon ice every now and then, but got through it 

Towards morning (September nth) we had high land 
ahead, and had to change our course to due east, keep- 
ing to this all day. When I came on deck before noon 
I saw a fine tract of hill country, with high summits and 
valleys between. It was the first view of the sort since 
we had left Vardo, and, after the monotonous low land 
we had been coasting along for months, it was refresh 
ing to see such mountains again. They ended with a 
precipitous descent to the east, and eastward from that 
extended a perfectly fiat plain. In the course of the 
day we quite lost sight of land, and strangely enough 
did not see it again ; nor did we see the Islands of St. 
Peter and St. Paul, though, according to the maps, our 
course lay close past them. 

Thursday, September 12th. Henriksen awoke me 
this morning at 6 with the information that there 
were several walruses lying on a fioe quite close to us. 
" By Jove !" Up I jumped and had my clothes on in a 
trice. It was a lovely morning — fine, still weather ; the 
walruses' guffaw sounded over to us along the clear 
ice surface. They were lying' crowded together on a 
floe a little to landward from us, blue .. ountains ditter- 
ing behind them in the sun. At last the harpoons were 
sharpened, guns and cartridges ready, and Henriksen, 










all night, making- spfendKl way; uhen thr w.'ad wa.> 
blowing stiffest u -, ,-^> ,-a1c of 9 knots. We 

came upon ice cveiy now and then, !)i;t got tlirough it 

Towards morning (Septeiiilxr uth) we !«,!.! ii?<r|. !•,,..) 
ahead, and had to cliange our course to ,,,, [., ,■,> 

ing to rhi- ni! <\xy. When I came on deck in;! ■ ,, .,,1 
^ ''^^^ ■ ■ '■' "' '^''' >-ountry, with high and 

valleys !.,(::.: ... ^ .,... the first virw (.f tlu: sort since 
^^■'^ '^'■'' '■" ■ ano, after the monotonous hwv land 

we had uceu coasiing along for months, it was refresh- 
ing to see such mountains again. i iiey ended wiiji a 
precij)iious descent to th.e east, and .-astward from 
extend ■ : ,HM-fectIy fiat plain. In ih- ...urse of t!ie 
day we 11. , ;.t sight (if land, aiid strang<-!v 'Minngh 

did not S..-1.' it again ; nor did w-- ■ . .' St 

Peter and St. Paui, tliongh, accord, 
'I i -ii'se lay close pas; 

Thurs(i_^ -ptem!, : •.'; flcnriksc!) awoke me 
this niornhig at o wiiii tii, K.iormatio'i that there 
we^e sexTiai walruses iyiuL; m, a Hoe quite close to us. 
" ''" '-' '" i'p 1 jumped and had e!\' clotln-s on : 
^''^' ' ' ■ ' ' ' M-riung — hue, still weatc. 
walru.^es gviitaw .sourided over to us ajono- ^i,. 

"' • , crowded together on a 

'■ ^1 '!"'■■■ i'-idward from us, !:>lue mountams giitier- 

ing behind them m tiie sun. .\i lasi the harpoons were 

sharpened, gu: ,, a n^nriksen, 


















n in a 

. ihc 





1 1.: 



Juell, and I set off. There seemed to be a slight breeze 
from the south, so we rowed to the north side of the floe, 
to get to leeward of the animals. From time to time 
their sentry raised his head, but apparently did not see 
us. We advanced slowly, and soon we were so near that 
we had to row very cautiously. Juell kept us going, while 
Henriksen was ready in the bow with a harpoon, and I 
behind him with a gun. The moment the sentry raised 
his head the oars stopped, and we stood motionless; 
when he sunk it again, a few more strokes brought us 

Body to body they lay close-packed on a small floe, 
old and young ones mixed. Enormous masses of flesh 
they were! Now and again one of the ladies fanned 
herself by moving one of her flappers backward and 
forward over her body ; then she lay quiet again on her 
back or side. "Good gracious! what a lot of meat!" 
said Juell, who vas cook. More and more cautiously 
we drew near. While I sat ready with the gun, Hen- 
riksen took a good grip of the harpoon shaft, and as the 
boai touched the floe he rose, and off flew the harpoon. 
But it struck too high, glanced off the tough hide, and 
skipped over the backs of the animals. Now there was 
a pretty to do ! Ten or twelve great weird faces glared 
upon us at once; the colossal creatures twisted them- 
selves round with incredible celerity, and came waddling 
with lifted heads and hollow bellowings to the edo-e of 
the ice where we lay. It was undeniably an imposing 



\ II 

%. , 

sight; but I laid my gun to my shoulder and fired at 

one of the biggest heads. The animal staggered, and 

then fell head foremost into the water. Now a ball into 

another head; this creature fell too, but was able t^ ^' ufr 

itself into the sea. And now the whole herd daslica ni, 

and we as well as they were hidden in spray. It had all 

happened in a few seconds. But up they came again 

immediately round the boat, the one head bigger and 

uglier than the other, their young ones close beside them. 

They stood up in the water, bellowed and roared till the 

air trembled, threw themselves forward towards us, then 

rose up again, and new bellowings filled the air. Then 

they rolled over and disappeared with a splash, then 

bobbed up again. The water foamed and boiled for 

yards around — the ice-world that had been so still before 

seemed in a moment to have been transformed into a 

raging bedlam. Any moment we might expect to have 

a walrus tusk or two through the boat, or to be heaved 

up and capsized. Something of tliis kind was the very 

least that could happen after such a terrible commotion. 

But the hurly-burly went on and nothing came of it. i 

again picked out my victims. They went on bellowing 

and grunting like the others, but with blood streaming 

from their mouths and noses. Another ball, and one 

tumbled over and floated on the water ; now a ball to 

the second, and it did the same. Henriksen was ready 

with the harpoons, and secured them both. One more 

was shot; but we had no more harpoons, and had to 



























|: i 



_! 1 I 


J I* 

' ) 



,» ■ ' 




1: ■ 

1 ' 



P ■ ' 


■ ' 



Strike a seal-hook into it to hold it up. The hook 
slipped, however, and the animal sank before we could 
save it. While we were towing our booty to an ice-floe 
we were still, for part of the time at least, surrounded 
by walruses; but there was no use in shooting any 
more, for we had no means of carrying them off. The 
Fram presently came up and took our two on board, 
and we were soon going ahead along the coast. We saw 
many walruses in this part. We shot two others in the 
afternoon, and could have got many more if we had had 
time to spare. It was in this same neighborhood that 
Nordcnskiold also saw one or two small herds. 

We now continued our course, against a strong cur- 
rent, southward along the coast, past the mouth of the 
Chatanga. This eastern part of the Taimur Peninsula 
is a comparatively high, mountainous region, but with a 
lower level stretch between the mountains and the sea — 
apparently the same kind of low land we had seen alono- 
the coast almost the whole way. As the sea seemed to 
be tolerably open and free from ice, we made several 
attempts to shorten our course by leaving the coast and 
striking across for the mouth of the Olenek ; but every 
time thick ice drove us back to our channel by the land. 

On September 14th we were off the land lying be- 
tween the Chatanga and the Anabara. This also was 
fairly high, mountainous country, with a low strip by the 
-sea. " In this respect," so I write in my diary, " this 

whole coast reminds one very much of Jaederen, in Nor- 




|i ! 

pf'f ' I 


if.'' ^; 


I i 

way. But the mountains here are not so well separated, 
and are considerably lower than those farther north. 
The sea is unpleasantly shallow; at one time during the 
night we had only 4 fathoms, and were obliged to put 
back some distance. We have ice outside, quite close ; 
but yet there is a sufficient fairway to let us push on 

The following day we got into good, open water, but 
shallow — never more than 6 to 7 fathoms. We heard 
the roaring of waves to the east, so there must certainly 
be open water in that direction, which indeed we had 
expected. It was plain that the Lena, with its masses of 
warm water, was beginning to assert its influence. The 
sea here was browner, and showed signs of some mixture 
of muddy river-water. It was also much less salt. 

" It would be foolish." I write in my diary for this day 
(September 15th), "to go in to the Olenek, now that we 
are so late. Even if there were no danijer from shoals, 
it would cost us too much time — probably a year. Be- 
sides, it is by no means sure that the Fram can get in 
there at all ; it would be a very tiresome business if she 
went aground in these waters. No doubt we should be 
verv much the better of a few more d.oo;s, but to lose a 
year is too much ; we shall rather head straight east for 
the New .Siberian Islands, now that there is a good op- 
portunity, and really bright prospects. 

" The ice here puzzles me a good deal. How in the 
world is it not swept northward by the current, which, 



according to my calculations, ought to set north from 
this coast, and which indeed we ourselves have felt. 
And it is such hard, thick ice — has the appearance of 
being several years old. Does it come from the east- 
ward, or does it lie and grind round here in the sea 
between the ' north-going ' current of the Lena and the 
Taimur Peninsula? I cannot tell yet, but anyhow it is 
different from the thin, one-year-old ice we have seen 
until now in the Kara Sea and west of Cape Chelyuskin. 
"Saturday, September i6th. We are keeping a 
northwesterly course (by compass) through open water, 
and have got pretty well north, but see no ice, and the 
air is dark to the northward. Mild weather, and water 
comparatively warm, as high as 35° Fahr. We have 
the current against us, and are always considerably west 
of our reckoning. Several flocks of eider-duck were 
seen in the course of the day. We ought to have land 
to the north of us ; can it be that which is keeping back 
the ice.?" 

Next day we met ice, and had to hold a little to the 
south to keep clear of it ; and I began to fear that we 
should not be able to get as far as I had hoped. But in 
my notes for the following day (Monday, September i8th) 
I read: "A splendid day. Shaped our course north- 
ward, to the west of Bielkoff Island. Open sea ; good 
wind from the west; good progress. Weather clear^and 
we had a little sunshine in the afternoon. Now the de- 
cisive moment approaches. At 12.15 shaped our course 

i I ! 




if i] ;• 

:i' ( 

) \ 

north to east (by compass). Now it is to be proved if 
my theory, on which the whole expedition is based, is 
correct — if we are to find a Httle north from here a 
north-flowing current. So far everything is better than I 
had expected. We are in latitude 75^° N., and have still 
open water and dark sky to the north and west. In the 
evening there was ice-light ahead and on the starboard 
bow. About seven I thought that I could see ice, which, 
however, rose so regularly that it more resembled land, 
but it was too dark to see distinctly. It seemed as if it 
might be Bielkoff Island, and a big light spot farther to 
the east might even be the reflection from the snow- 
covered Kotelnoi. I should have liked to run in here, 
partly to see a little of this interesting island, and partly 
to inspect the stores which we knew had been deposited 
for us here by the friendly care of Baron von Toll ; but 
time was precious, and to the north the sea seemed to lie 
open to us. Prospects were bright, and we sailed stead- 
ily northward, wondering what the morrow would bring 
— disappointment or hope ? If all went well we should 
reach Sannikoff Land — that, as yet, untrodden ground. 

" It was a strange feeling to be sailing away north in 
the dark night to unknown lands, over an open, rolling 
sea, where no ship, no boat had been before. We might 
have been hundreds of miles away in more southerly 
waters, the air was so mild for September in this 

"Tuesday, September 19th. I have never had such 


^ or 

I 'I'l 

J 28 


S'l J 




north to enst (ijy compass). No^- -t j- 

.'1. . :■. , on which the \vh' 
rorrect — if we arc ir> , . ,; 

" ■ n-flowini^ ciHTM ; , :>() la;- evervti;:.i 

proved if 

is 'x'lscd, is 


,.,-*,.,-! X\ 

in lit-if,.,!.. 

<■ :>:;il; liten; wa- ici>ht;ht ah -' ' wii uk- Ntarbuuici 

b'- \'-': \ hoiight that J i:oui(l v-. wliich, 

how .- ^.' regula' bled land, 

• ' see distinct!'. . ! . • '' • 
raight bo IhcHvoff island, and ' '. '^ . 
iIk- ca^t nhg- : 

> red Kotclnoi. I should hn.- llhi-d >, m in here, 

])art'' .'lis in!'- ' .' r 

w]:ich ih f! 
the f- ■ • 





111, _Uls 

lal: the V 

- Ill ur :,wpc ; \\ all W'fit w 

■x\^(\ — thr. 

\d\ : 

iitrodden <• round. 

'trth in 
open, rolling 

)at ha 

oai nad i.x 

W V 

•hid hjr Septembv 

I ha\e 

h?,A -;!, h 



Ml i 

^**fttfjj*' ' 









ii ■', 


i\ I! 

• 1^ 


I, Mi 



m ' 



a splendid sail. On to the north, steadily north, with a 
good wind, as fast as steam and sail can take us, and open 
sea mile after mile, watch after watch, through these un- 
known regions, always clearer and clearer of "ce one 
might almost say! How. long will this last? The eye 
always turns to the northward as one paces the bndge 
It IS gazing into the future. But there is always the 
same dark sky ahead, which means open sea. My plan 
was standing its test. It seemed as if luck had been on 
our side ever since the 6th of September. We see 
'nothing but clean water,' as Henriksen answered from 
the crow's-nest when I called up to him. When he was 
standing at the wheel later in the morning, and I' was on 
the bndge, he suddenly said: ' They little think at home 
in Norway just now that we are sailing straight for the 
Pole in clear water.' 'No, they don't believe we have 
got so far.' And I shouldn't have believed it myself if 
any one had prophesied it to me a fortnight ago; but 
true it is. All my reflections and inferences on The' sub- 
ject had led me to expect open water for a good ^^■xy 
farther north ; but it is seldom that one's inspirations 
turn out to be so correct. No ice-light in any direction, 
not even now in the evening. We saw no land the 
whole day; but we had fog and thick weather all morn- 
ing and forenoon, so that we were still going at half- 
speed, as we were afraid of coming suddenly on some- 
thing. Now we are almost in ^f north latitude. How 
long IS It to go on.? I have said all along that I should 

f1l #-l 



be glad if we reached 78° ; but Sverdrup is less easily sat- 
isfied ; he says over 80° — perhaps 84°, 85°. He even 
talks seriously of the open Polar Sea, which he once read 
about; lie always comes back upon it, in spite of my 
laughing at him. 

" I have almost to ask myself if this is not a dream. 
One must have gone against the stream to know what 
it means to ojo with the stream. As it was on the 
Greenland expedition, so it is here. 

" ' Dort ward der Traum zur Wirklichkeit, 
Hier wird die Wirkli':'iikeit zum Traum!' 



" Hardly any life visible her':;. Saw an auk or black 
guillemot to-day, and later a sea-gull in the distance. 
When I was hauling up a bucket of water in the even- 
ing to wash the deck I noticed that it was sparkling with 
phosphorescence. One could almost have imagined 
one's self to be in the south. 

" Wednesday, September 20th. I have had a rough 
awakening from my dream. As I was sitting at 1 1 a.m., 
looking at the map and thinking that my cup would 
soon be full — we had almost reached 78' — there was 
a sudden luff, and I rushed out. Ahead of us lay the 
edge of the ice, long and compact, shining through the 
foo-. I had a stroma inclination to go eastward, on 
the possibility of there being land in that direction ; 
but it looked as if the ice extended farther south there, 
and there was the probability of being able to reach a 


higher latitude if we kept west ; so we headed that way. 
The sun broke through for a moment just now, so we 
took an observation, which showed us to be in about 77° 
44' north latitude." 

We now held northwest along the edge of the ice. 
It seemed to me as if there might be land at no great 
distance, we saw such a remarkable number of birds of 
various kinds. A flock of snipe or wading birds met us, 
followed us for a time, and then took their way south. 
They were probably on their passage from some land to 
the north of us. We could see nothing, as the fog lay 
persistently over the ice. Again, later, we saw flocks of 
small snipe, indicating the possible proximity of land. 
Next day the weather was clearer, but still there was no 
land in sight. We were now a good way north of the 
spot where Baron von Toll has mapped the south coast of 
Sannikoff Land, but in about the same longitude. So it 
is probaoly only a small island, and in any case cannot 
extend far north. 

On September 21st we had thick fog again, and when 
we had sailed north to the head of a bay in the ice, and 
could get no farther, I decided to wait here for clear 
weather to see if progress farther north were possible. 
I calculated that we were now in about 78.^° north 
latitude. We tried several times during the day to take 
soundings, but did not succeed in reaching the bottom ' 
with 215 fathoms of line. 

"To-day made the agreeable discovery that there 

— ^^-JtS'jda^-i ■ 




t i 

are bugs on board. Must plan a campais^n against 

" Friday, September 22d. Brilliant sunshine once 
again, and white da/.zling ice ahead. First we lay still 
in the fog because we could not see which way to gop 
now it is clear, and we know just as little about it. It 
looks as if we were at the northern boundary of the 
open water. To the west the ice app ,'ars to extend 
south again. To the north it is compact and white — 
only a small open rift or pool every here and there ; and 
the sky is whitish-blue everywhere on the horizon. It is 
from the east we have just come, but there we could see 
very little; and for want of anything better to do we 
shall make a short excursion in that direction, on the 
possibility of finding openings in the ice. If there were 
only time, what I should like would be to go east as far 
as Sannikoff Island, or, better still, all the way to Bennet 
Land, to see what condition things are in there ; but it 
is too late now. The sea will soon be freezintr, and we 
should run a great risk of being frozen in at a dis- 
advantageous point." 

Earlier Arctic explorers have considered it a necessity 
to keep near some coast. But this was exactly what I 
wanted to avoid. It was the drift of the ice that I 
wished to get into, and what I most feared was being 
blocked by lartd. It seemed as if we might do much 
worse than give ourselves up to the ice where we were 
— especially as our excursion to the east had proved that 





S us 110 


1-25 1.4 1 1.6 



— ► 



WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(714) 872-4S03 











..* I 


are bugs c.i boaiil. Musi plan a. campaign against 

" Friday, September 2 2d. Brilliant sunshino once 
again, and white dazzling ice ahead. lM"rst we lay still 
in. the fog because we could not see which way to go; 
now it is clear, and wc know just as little about it. It 
lof! - if wo were at the northern boundary of the 
open ualei-. To the west the ice appears to extend 
south again. To the north it is compact and white — 
only a small open rift or pool every here and there: and 
the sky is whilish-blue everywhere on the horizon. it is 
from the east we have jusi come, but there we c(.)uJd see 
^ery little; and for want of anything better to do we 
shall make a short excursion' i?' ib'f: direction, on the 
p(»s-ibilily of finding openin;j- • ' ;. ice. If there ^\ere 
''•■'■ 'ime, what I -iifui'd lik'' ' V^ !:■ ; . ■ '. \-^■■ 

■ ' ■ ! H unet 

■t tJieie ; I'jut it 

-,)w. The sea will soon ijc freezing, aiid wc 

great risk of being frozen in at a dis- 

> p<,)int," 

c explorers have considered it a necessity 

i-ne coast. I'ul. this was exactly what I 

!. Ir was the drift of the ice that 1 

:;to. and what I mo.^t feared was being 

-ccmud ah if we miglit flo much 

up \o the ice where we were 

, :■■ .on \i> \\\'.- tst had proved that 



'.^.'T Islan.K ^-- , 

■ what condition ti.uj; 






















i*i..»mhlt'»Mil ^. UMa.«« 

nrrr'-fiT' '- -- ^[V- rf rT i'iVi rihil 

\\i' I 

■M I 

rm ■• 










i 1 







F 1 


following the ice-edge in that direction would soon force 
us south again. So in the meantime we made fast to a 
great ice-block, and prepared to clean the boiler and shift 
coals. « We are lying in open water, with only a few 
large floes here and there ; but I have a presentiment 
that this is our winter harbor. 

" Great bug war to-day. We play the big steam hose 
on mattresses, so^a-cushions— everything that we think 
can possibly harbor the enemies. All clothes are put 
into a barrel, which is hermetically closed, except where 
the hose is introduced. Then full steam is set on. It 
whizzes and whistles inside, and a little forces its way 
through the joints, and we think that the animals must 
be having a fine hot time of it. But suddenly tho barrel 
cracks, the steam rushes out, and the lid bursts off with 
a violent explosion, and is flung far along the deck 
I still hope that there has been z. great slaughter, for 
these are horrible enemies. Juell tried the old experi- 
ment of setting one on a piece of wood to see if it 
would creep north. It would not move at all, so he took 
a blubber hook and hit it to make it go; but it would 
do nothing but wriggle its head-the harder he hit the 
more it wriggled. ' Squash it, then,' said Bentzen. And 
squashed it was. 

"Friday, September 23d. We are still at the same 
moonngs, working at the coal. An unpleasant contrast 
-everythmg on board, men and dogs included, black 
and filthy, and everything around white and bright in 

■m'JtM^' riliifi I 



fi r' i 

beautiful sunshine. It looks as if more ice were driv- 

ing in. 

" Sunday, September 24th. Still coal -shifting. Fog 
in the morning, which cleared off as the day went on, 
when we discovered that we were closely surrounded 
on all sides by tolerably thick ice. Between the floes 

t; I ^ 

(SEPTEMBER 25, 1 893) 

(From a Vhotograph) 

lies slush- ice, which will soon be quite firm. There 
is an open pool to be seen to the north, but not a 
large one. From the crow's-nest, with the telescope, we 
can still descry the sea across the ice to the south. 
It looks as if we were being shut in. Well, we must 
e'en bid the ice welcome. A dead reoion this ; no life 
in any direction, except a single seal {Phoca fcetida) in 
the water; and on the floe beside us we can see a bear- 



track some days old. We again try to get soundings, 
but still find no bottom ; it is remarkable that there 
should be such depth here." 

Ugh ! one can hardly imagine a dirtier, nastier job 
^ than a spell of coal-shifting on board. It is a pity that 
such a useful thing as coal should be so black ! What 
we are doing now is only hoisting it from the hold and 
filling the bunkers with it; but every man on board 
must help, and everything is in a mess. So many men 
must stand on the coal-heap in the hold and fill the 
buckets, and so many hoist them. Jacobsen is spe- 
cially good at this last job; his strong arms pull up 
bucket after bucket as if they were as many boxes of 
matches. The rest of us go backward and forward 
with the buckets between the main-hatch and the half- 
deck, pouring the coal into the bunkers; and down be- 
low stands Amundsen packing it, as black as he can 
be. Of course coal-dust is flying over the whole deck; 
the dogs creep into corners, black and toussled ; and 
we ourselves — well, we don't wear our best clothes on 
such days. We got some amusement out of the re- 
markable appearance of our faces, with their dark com- 
plexions, black streaks at the most unlikely places, and 
eyes and white teeth shining through the dirt. Any 
one happening to touch the white wall below with his 
hand leaves a black five -fingered blot; and the doors 
have a wealth of such mementos. The seats of the 
sofas must have their wrong sides turned up, else they 


•^^■-'■ ■■•-^■■-■-^ ^- i '^ ri -r'' •'•-1'B M j" i .. 



would bear lasting marks of another part of the body ; 
and the table-cloth — well, we fortunately do not jjossess 
such a thing. In short, coal -shifting is as dirty and 
wretched an experience as one can well imagine in 
these bright and pure surroundings. One good thing 
is that there is plenty of fresh water to wash with ; we 
can find it in every hollow on the fioes, so there is 
some hope of our being clean again in time, and it is 
possible that this may be our last coal-shifting. 

" Monday, September 25th. Frozen in faster and 
faster! Beautiful, still weather; 13 degrees of frost last 
night. Winter is coming now. Had a visit from a 
bear, which was off again before any one got a shot 
at it." i 



It really looked as if we were now frozen in for good, 
and I did not expect to get the Fram out of the ice till 
we were on the other side of the Pole, nearing the 
Atlantic Ocean. Autumn was already well advanced; 
the sun stood lower in the heavens day by day, and the 
temperature sank steadily. The long night of winter 
was approaching— that dreaded night. There was noth- 
ing to be done except prepare ourselves for it, and by 
degrees we converted our ship, as well as we could, into 
comfortable winter quarters; while at the same time we 
took every precaution to assure her against the destruc- 
tive influences of cold, drift-ice, and the other forces of 
nature to which it was prophesied that we must suc- 
cumb. The rudder was hauled up, so that it might not 
be destroyed by the pressure of the ice. We had in- 
tended to do the same with the screw ; but as it, with its 
iron case, would certainly help to strengthen the stern, 
and especially the rudder-stock, we let it remain in its 
place. We had a good deal of work with the engine, 
too ; each separate part was taken out, oiled, and laid 




¥■ 'i>i 

away for the winter; slide-valves, pistons, shafts, were 
examined and thoroughly cleaned. All this was done 
with the very greatest care. Amundsen looked after 
that engine as if it had been his own child; late and 
early he was down tending it lovingly; and we used to 
tease him about it, to see the defiant look come into his 
eyes and hear him say : " It's all very well for you to 
talk, but there's not such another engine in the world, 
and it would be a sin and a shame not to take good care 
of it." Assuredly he left nothing undone. I don't sup- 
pose a day passed, winter or summer, all these three 
years, that he did not go down and caress it, and do 
something or other for it. 

We cleared up in the hold to make room for a joiner's 
workshop down there ; our mechanical workshop we had 
in the engine room. The smithy was at first on deck, 
and afterwards on the ice; tinsmith's work was done 
chiefly in the chart-room; shoemaker's and sailmaker's, 
and various odd sorts of work, in the saloon. And all 
these occupations were carried on with interest and 
activity during the rest of the expedition. There was 
nothing, from the most delicate instruments down to 
wooden shoes and axe-handles, that could not be made 
on board the Fram. When we were found to be short 
of sounding-line, a grand rope-walk was constructed on 
the ice. It proved to be a very profitable undertaking, 
and was well patronized. 

Presently we began putting up the windmill which 












1 K 



M I 




was to drive the dynamo and produce the electric h'ght. 
While the ship was going, the dynamo was driven by 
the engine, but for a long time past we had had to be 
contented with petroleum lamps in our dark cabins. The 
windmill was erected on the port side of the fore-deck, 
between the main- hatch and the rail. It took several 
weeks to get this important appliance into working 

As mentioned on page 71, we had also brought with 
us a " horse-mill " for driving the dynamo. I had 
thought that it might be of service in giving us exercise 
whenever there was no other physical work for us. But 
this time never came, and so the "horse-mill " was never 
used. There was always something to occupy us; and 
it was not difficult to find work for each man that gave 
him sufficient exercise, and so much distraction that the 
time did not seem to him unbearably long. 

There was the care of the ship and rigging, the in- 
spection of sails, ropes, etc., etc. ; there were provisions 
of all kinds to be got out from the cases down in the 

hold, and handed over to the cook ; there was ice 

good, pure, fresh - water ice — to be found and carried 
to the galley to be melted for cooking, drinking, and 
washing water. Then, as already mentioned, there was 
always something doing in the various workshops. Now 
"Smith Lars" had to straighten the long-boat davits, 
which had been twisted by the waves in the Kara Sea; 
now it was a hook, a knife, a bear-trap, or something 





r^i( / 

else to be forged. The tinsmith, again "Smith Lars," 
had to solder togethe.' a great tin pail for the ice-melting 
in the galley. The mechanician, Amundsen, would 
have an order for some instrument or other — perhaps 
a new current-gauge. The watchmaker, Mogstad, would 
have a thermograph to examine and clean, or a new 
spring to put into a watch. The sailmaker might have 
an order for a quantity of dog-harness. Then each man 
had to be his own shoemaker — make himself canvas 
boots with thick, warm, wooden soles, according to 
Sverdrup's newest pattern. Presently there would come 
an order to mechanician Amundsen tor a supply of new 
zinc music-sheets for ihe organ — these being a brand- 
new invention of the leader of the expedition. The 
electrician would have to examine and clean the accumu- 
lator batteries, which were in danger of freezing. When 
at last the windmill was ready, it had to be attended to, 
turned according to the wind, etc. And when the wind 
v/as too strong some one had to climb up and reef the 
mill sails, which was not a pleasant occupation in this 
winter cold, and involved much breathing on fingers and 
rubbing of the tip of the nose. 

It happened now and then, too, that the ship required 
to be pumped. This became less and less necessary as the 
water froze round her and in the interstices in her sides. 
The pumps, therefore, were not touched from December, 
1893, till July, 1895. The only noticeable leakage dur- 
ing that time was in the engine-room, but it was nothing 

"'.' I 



of any consequence : just a few buckets of ice that had 
to be hewn away every month from the bottom of the 
ship and hoisted up. 

To these varied employments was presently added, 
as the most important of all, the taking of scientific 
observations, which gave many of us constant occupa- 
tion. Those that involved the greatest labor were, of 
course, the meteorological observations, which were 
taken every four hours day and night; indeed, for a 
considerable part of the time, every two hours. They 
kept one man, sometimes two, at work all day. It was 
Hansen who had the principal charge of this department, 
and his regular assistant until March, 1895, was Johan- 
sen, whose place was then taken by Nordahl. The 
night observations were taken by whoever was on watch. 
About every second day, when the weather was clear, 
Hansen and his assistant took the astronomical observa- 
tion which ascertained our position. This was certainly 
the work which was followed with most interest by all 
the members of the expedition ; and it was not uncom- 
mon to see Hansen's cabin, while he was making his 
calcu' I jns, besieged with idle spectators, waiting to 
hear ^ ^e result — whether we had drifted north or south 
since the last observation, and how far. The state of 
feeling on board very much depended on these results. 

Hansen had also at stated periods to take observa- 
tions to determine the magnetic constant in this un- 
known region. These were carried on at first in a 





1 ! 


(From a Photograph) 

tent, specially constructed for the purpose, which was 
soon erected on the ice; but later we built him a large 
snow hut, as being both more suitable and more com- 

For the ship's doctor there was less occupation. He 
looked long and vainly for patients, and at last had to 
give it up and in despair take to doctoring the dogs. 



Once a month he too had to make his scientific observa- 
tions, which consisted in the weighing of each man, and 
the counting of blood corpuscles, and estimating the 
amount of blood pigment, in order to ascertain the num- 
ber of red -blood corpuscles and the quantity of red 
coloring matter (hcemoglobin) in the blood of each. 
This was also work that was watched with anxious 
interest, as every man thought he could tell from the re- 
sult obtained how long it would be before scurvy over- 
took him. 

Among our scientific pursuits may also be mentioned 
the determining of the temperature of the water and of its 
degree of saltness at varying depths; the collection and 
examination of such animals as are to be found in these 
northern seas; the ascertaining of the amount of elec- 
tricity in the air; the observation of the formation of the 
ice, its growth and thickness, and of the temperature of 
the different layers of ice ; the investigation of the cur- 
rents in the water under it, etc., etc. I had the main 
charge of this department. There remains to be men- 
tioned the regular observation of the aurora borealis, 
which we had a splendid opportunity of studying. After 
I had gone on with it for some time. Blessing undertook 
this part of ni)' duties; and when I left the ship I made 
over to him all the other observations that were under 
my charge. Not an inconsiderable item of our scientific 
work were the soundings and dredginors. At the greater 
depths it was such an undertaking that every one had 

i V, 







f ' 

to assist ; and, from the way we were obliged to do 
it later, one sounding sometimes gave occupation for 
several days. 

One day differed very little from another on board, 
and the description of one is. in every particular of any 
importance, a description of all. 

We all turned out at eight, and breakfasted on hard 
bread (both rye and wheat), cheese (Dutch-clove cheese, 
Cheddar, Gruyere, and Mysost, or goat's-whey cheese, 
prepared from dry powder), corned beef or corned 
mutton, luncheon ham or Chicago tinned tongue or 
bacon, cod-caviare, anchovy roe ; also oatmeal biscuits or 
English ship-biscuits— with orange marmalade or Frame 
Food jelly. Three times a week we had fresh -baked 
bread as well, and often cake of some kind. As for our 
beverages, we began by having coffee and chocolate day 
about; but afterwards had coffee only two days a week, 
tea two, and chocolate three. 

After breakfast some men went to attend to the dogs 
— give them their food, which consisted of half a stock- 
fish or a couple of dog-biscuits each, let them loose, or 
do whatever else there was to do for them. The others 
went all to their different tasks. Each took his turn of 
a week in the galley — helping the cook to wash up, lay 
the table, and wait. The cook himself had to arranoe 
his bill of fare for dinner immediately after breakfast, and 
to set about his preparations at once. Some of us would 
take a turn on the floe to get some fresh air, and to exam- 















\ '• 



ii til 

i.' k 



ine the state of the ice, its pressure, etc. At i o'clock 
all were assembled for dinner, which generally consisted 
of three courses — soup, meat, and dessert ; or, soup, fish, 
and meat ; or, fish, meat, and dessert ; or sometimes only 
fish and meat. With the meat we always had potatoes, 
and either green vegetables or macaroni. I think we 
were all agreed that the fare was good ; it would hardly 
have been better at home ; for some of us it would per- 
haps have been worse. And we looked like fatted pigs; 
one or two even began to cultivate a double chin and a 
corporation. As a rule, stories and jokes circulated at 
table along with the bock-beer. 

After dinner the smokers of our company would march 
off, well fed and contented, into the galley, which was 
smoking-room as well as kitchen, tobacco being tabooed 
in the cabins except on festive occasions. Out there 
they had a good smoke and chat; many a story was 
told, and not seldom some warm dispute arose. After- 
wards came, for most of us, a short siesta. Then each 
went to his work again until we were summoned to sup- 
per at 6 o'clock, when the regulation day's work was 
done. Supper was almost the same as breakfast, except 
that tea was always the beverage. Afterwards there was 
again smoking in the galley, while the saloon was trans- 
formed into a silent reading-room. Good use was made 
of the valuable library presented to the expedition by 
generous publishers and other friends. If the kind donors 
could have seen us away up there, sitting round the 




table at night with heads buried in books or collections 
of illustrations, and could have understood how invalua- 
able these companions were to us, they would have felt 



rewarded by the knowledge that they had conferred 
a real boon— that they had materially assisted in making 
the Fram the little oasis that it was in this vast ice 
desert. About half-past seven or eight cards or other 
games were brought out, and we played well on into the 
night, seated in groups round the saloon table. One or 
other of us might go to the organ, and, with the assistance 



of the crank-handle, perform some of our beautiful pieces, 
or Joharsen would bring out the accordion and play many 
a fine tune. His crowning efforts were "Oh, Susanna!" 
and " Napoleon's March Across the Alps in an Open 
Boat." About midnight we turned in, and then the night 
watch was set. Each man went on for an hour. Their 
most trying work on watch seems to have been writing 
their diaries and looking out, when the dogs barked, for 
any signs of bears at hand. Besides this, every two 
hours or four hours the watch had to go aloft or on to 
the ice to take the meteorological observations. 

I believe I may safely say that on the whole the time 
passed pleasantly and imperceptibly, and that we throve 
in virtue of the regular habits imposed upon us. 

My notes from day to day will give the best idea 
of our life, in all its monotony. They are not great 
events that are here recorded, but in their very bare- 
ness they give a true picture. Such, and no other, was 
our life. I shall give some quotations direct from my 
diary : 

" Tuesday, September 26th. Beautiful weather. The 
sun stands much lower now; it was 9° above the hori- 
zon at midday. Winter is rapidly approaching; there 
are 14A'' of frost this evening, but we do not feel it 
cold. To-day's observations unfortunately show no par- 
ticular drift northward ; according to them we are still 
in yS'' 50' north latitude. I wandered about over the 
floe towards evening. Nothing more wonderfully beau- 




tiful can exist than the Arctic night. It is dreamland, 
painted in the imagination's most dch'cate tints; it is' 
color etherealized. One shade melts into the other, so 
that you cannot tell where one ends and the other begins, 
and yet they are all there. No forms — it is all faint,' 


dreamy color music, a far-away, long-drawn-out melody 
on muted strings. Is not all life's beauty high, and 
delicate, and pure like this night.? Give it brighter 
colors, and it is no longer so beautiful. The sky is like 
an enormous cupola, blue at the zenith, shading down 
into green, and then into lilac and violet at thc^ edges. 
Over the ice-fields there are cold violet-blue shado^ws' 



wii'ii lighter pink tints where a ridge here and there 
catches the last reflection of the vanished day. Up in 
the blue of the cupola shine the stars, speaking peace, as 
they always do, those unchanging friends. In the south 
stands a large red-yellow moon, encircled b}' a yellow 
ring and light golden clouds floating on the blue back- 
ground. Presently the aurora borealis shakes over the 
vault of heaven its veil of glittering silver — changing 
now to yellow, now to green, now to red. It spreads, it 
contracts again, in restless change ; next it breaks into 
waving, many-folded bands of shining silver, over which 
shoot billows of glittering rays, and then the glory 
vanishes. Presently it shimmers in tongues of flame 
over the very zenith, and then again it shoots a bright 
ray right up from the horizon, until the whole melts 
away in the moonlight, and it is as though one heard the 
sigh of a departing spirit. Here and there are left a few 
waving streamers of light, vague as a foreboding — they 
are the dust from the aurora's glittering cloak. But now 
it is growing again ; new lightnings shoot up, and the 
endless game begins afresh. And all the time this utter 
stillness, impressive as the symphony of infinitude. I 
have never been able to grasp the fact that this earth 
will some day be spent and desolate and empty. To 
what end, in that case, all this beauty, with not a creat- 
ure to rejoice in it ? Now I begin to divine it. 
This is the coming earth — here are beauty and death. 
But to what purpose ? Ah, what is the purpose of all 







i vH 




these spheres? Read the answer, if you can, in the 
starry blue firmament, 

"Wednesday, September 27th. Gray weather and 
strong wind from the south - southwest. Nordahl, who 
is cook to-day, had to haul up some salt meat which, 
rolled in a sack, had been steeping for two days in the 
sea. As soon as he got hold of it he called out, horri- 
fied, that it was crawling with animals. He let go the 
sack and jumped away from it, the animals scattering 
round in every direction. They proved to be sand- 
hoppers, or Amphipoda, which had eaten their way into 
the meat. There were pints of them, both inside and 
outside of the sack. A pleasant discovery ; there will be 
no need to starve when such food is to be had by hang- 
ing a sack in the water. 

"Bentzen is the wag of the party; he is always playing 
some practical joke. Just now one of the men came rush- 
ing up and stood respectfully waiting for me to speak to 
him. It was Bentzen that had told him I wanted him. 
It won't be long before he has thought of some new 

" Thursday, September 28th. Snowfall with wind. 
To-day the dogs' hour of release has come. Until now 
their life on board has been really a melancholy one. 
They have been tied up ever since we left Khabarova. 
The stormy seas have broken over them, and they have 
been rolled here and there in the water on the deck; 
they have half hanged themselves in their leashes, howl- 








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I I 

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ing miserably ; they have had the hose played over them 

jvery time the deck 

)hed; they have beei 

was wasl 

sick; in bad as in good weather they have had to lie on 
the spot hard fate had chained them to, without more 
exercise than going backward and forward the length 
of their chains. It is thus you are treated, you splendid 
animals, who are to be our stay in the hour of need! 
When that time comes, you will, for a while at least, have 
the place of honor. When they were let loose there was 
a perfect storm of jubilation. They rolled in the snow, 
washed and rubbed themselves, and rushed about the 
ice in wild joy, barking loudly. Our floe, a short time 
ago so lonesome and forlorn, was quite a cheerful sight 
with this sudden population ; the silence of ages was 

It was our intention after this to tie up the dogs on 
the ice. 

" Friday, September 29th. Dr. Blessing's birthday, in 
honor of which we of course had a fete, our first great 
one on board. There was a double occasion for it. Our 
midday observation showed us to be in latitude 79° 5' 
north ; so we had passed one more degree. We had no 
fewer than five courses at dinner, and a more than usual- 
ly elaborate concert during the meal. Here follows a 
copy of the printed menu: 







\ '< 


Menu. September 29, 1893 

Soupe a la julienne avec des macaroni-dumplings. 

Potage de poison (s/c) avec des pommes de terre. 

Pudding de Nordahl. 

Glace du Greenland. 

De la table biere de la Ringnsees. 

Marmalade intacte. 

Music a Dine (sic) 











Valse Myosotic. 

Menuette de Don Juan de Mozart. 

Les Troubadours. 

College Hornpipe. 

Die letzte Rose de Martha. 

Ein flotter Studio Marsch de Phil. Farbach. 

Valse de Lagune de Strauss, 

Le Chanson du Nord (Du gamla, du friska. 

Hoch Habsburg Marsch de Krai. 

Josse Karads Polska. 

Vart Land, vart Land. 

Le Chanson de Chaseuse. 

Les Roses, Valse de Metra, 

Fischers Hornpipe. 

Traum-Valse de Millocher. 

Hemlandssiing. ' A le miserable.' 

Diamanten und Perlen. 

Marsch de ' Det lustiga Kriget.' 

Valse de ' Det lustige Kriget.' 

Priere du Freischiitz. 

I hope my readers will admit that this was quite a 
fine entertainment to be given in latitude 79° north ; but 
of such we had many on board the Fram at still higher 



(From a /ihotograph) 

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" Coffee and sweets were served after dinner ; and 
after a better supper than usual came strawberry and 
lemon ice {alias granitta) and limejuice toddy, without 
alcohol. The health of the hero of the day was first 
proposed ' in a few well - chosen words ' ; and then we 
drank a bumper to the seventy-ninth degree, which we 
were sure was only the first of many degrees to be con- 
quered in the same way. 

" Saturday, September 30th. I am not satisfied that 
the Frams present position is a good one for the winter. 
The great floe on the port side to which we are moored 
sends out an ugly projection about amidships, which might 
give her a bad squeeze in case of the ice packing. We 
therefore began to-day to warp her backward into better 
ice. It is by no means quick work. The comparatively 
open channel around us is now covered with tolerably 
thick ice, which has to be hewn and broken in pieces 
with axes, ice-staves, and walrus-spears. Then the cap- 
stan is manned, and we heave her through the broken 
fioe foot by foot. The temperature this evening is 
— 1 2.6" C. A wonderful sunset. 

" Sunday, October ist. Wind from the W.S.W^ and 
weather mild. We are taking a day of rest, which means 
eating, sleeping, smoking, and reading. 

" Monday, October 2d. Warped the ship farther 
astern, until we found a good berth for her out in the 
middle of the newly frozen pool. On the port side we 
have our big floe, with the dogs' camp— thirty-five black 




\. ' 



I I 

if I ' 

dogs tied up on the white ice. This floe turns a low, 
and by no means threatening, edge towards us. We 
have good low ice on the starboard too ; and between 
the ship and the floes we have on both sides the newly 
frozen surface ice, which has, in the jDrocess of warping, 
also got packed in under the ship's bottom, so that she 
lies in a good bed. 

"As Sverdrup, Juell, and I were sitting in the chart- 
room in the afternoon, splicing rope for the sounding- 
line, Peter* rushed in shouting, 'A bear! a bear!' I 
snatched up my rifle and tore out. ' Where is it .?' 
' There, near the tent, on the starboard side ; it came 
right up to it, and had almost got hold of them !' 

"And there it was, big and yellow, snuffing away at the 
tent gear. Hansen, Blessing, and Johansen were running 
at the top of their speed towards the ship. On to the 
ice I jumped, and off I went, broke through, stumbled, 
fell, and up again. The bear in the meantime had done 
sniffing, and had probably determined that an iron spade, 
an ice -staff, an axe, some tent-pegs, and a canvas tent 
were too indigestible food even for a bear's stomach. 
Anyhow, it was following with mighty strides in the track 
of the fugitives. It caught sight of me and stopped, 
astonished, as if it were thinking, ' What sort of insect 
can ///«/ be ?' I went on to within easy range ; it stood 
still, looking hard at me. At last it turned its head a 

* Peter Henriksen. 



little, and I gave it a ball in the neck. Without moving 
a limb, it sank slowly to the ice. I now let loose some 
of the dogs, to accustom them to this sort of sport, but 
they showed a lamentable want of interest in it; and 
' Kvik,' on whom all our hope in the matter of bear- 
hunting rested, bristled up and approached the dead 
animal very slowly and carefully, with her tail between 
her legs — a sorry spectacle. 

" I must now give the story of the others who made the 
bear's acquaintance first. Hansen had to-day begun to 
set up his observatory tent a little ahead of the ship, on 
the starboard bow. In the afternoon he got Blessing 
and Johansen to help him. While they were hard at 
work they caught sight of the bear not far from them, 
just off the bow of the Frant. 

" ' Hush ! Keep quiet, in case we frighten him,' says 

" ' Yes, yes !' And they crouch together and look at 

" ' I think I'd better try to slip on board and announce 
him,' says Blessing. 

"'I think you should,' says Hansen. 

" And off steals Blessing on tiptoe, so as not to fright- 
en the bear. By this time Bruin has seen and scented 
them, and comes jogging along, following his nose, tow- 
ards them. 

" Hansen now began to get over his fear of startling 
him. The bear caught sight of Blessing slinking off to the 



' \ 



\i ' 

ship and set after him. Blessing also was now much less 
concerned than he had been as to the bear's nerves. He 
stopped, uncertain what to do; but a moment's reflection 
brought him to the conclusion that it was pleasanter to be 
three than one just then, and he went back to the others 
faster than he had gone from them. The bear followed 
at a good rate. Hansen did not like the look of things, 
and thought the time had come to try a dodge he had 
seen recommended in a book. He raised himself to 
his full height, flung his arms about, and yelled with all 
the power of his lungs, ably assisted by the others. But 
the bear came on quite undisturbed. The situation was 
becoming critical. Each snatched up his weapon — 
Hansen an ice -staff, Johansen an axe, and Blessing 
nothing. They screamed with all their strength, ' Bear ! 
bear!' and set off for the ship as hard as they could 
tear. But the bear held on his steady course to the 
tent, and examined everything there before (as we have 
seen) he went after them. 

"It was a lean he -bear. The only thing that was 
found in its stomach when it was opened was a piece of 
paper, with the names ' Liitken and Mohn.' This was 
the wrapping-paper of a ' ski ' light, and had been left 
by one of us somewhere on the ice. After this day 
some of the members of the expedition would hardly 
leave the ship without being armed to the teeth. 

" Wednesday, October 4th. Northwesterly wind yes- 
terday and to-day. Yesterday we had —16°, and to-day 

li , 

if -t, 






I I 

' IfMll 



-14° C. I have worked all clay at soiindin<;s and got 
to about 800 fathoms depth. The bottom samples con- 
sisted of a layer of gray clay 4 to 4 A inches thick, and 
below that brown clay or mud. The temperature was, 
strangely enough, just above freezing-point ( + 0.18° C.) 
at the bottom, and just below freezing-point (-0.4" C.) 
75 fathoms up. This rather disposes of the story of a 
shallow polar basin and of the extreme coldness of the 
water of the Arctic Ocean. 

"While we were hauling up the line in the afternoon 
the ice cracked a little astern of the Fram, and the 
crack increased in breadth so quickly that three of us, 
who had to go out to save the ice-anchors, were obliired 
to make a bridge over it with a long board to get back to 
the ship again. Later in the evening there was some 
packing in the ice, and several new passages opened out 
behind this first one. 

"Thursday, October 5th. As I was dressing this 
morning, just before breakfast, the mate rushed down to 
tell me a bear was in sight. I was soon on deck and 
saw him coming from the south, to the lee of us. He 
was still a good way off, but stopped and looked about. 
Presently he lay down, and Henriksen and I started of¥ 
across the ice, and were lucky enough to send a bullet 
into his breast at about 310 yards, just as he was mov- 
ing off. 

"We are making everything snug for the winter and 
for the ice - pressure. This afternoon we took up the 

\ i 

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J '11 



,< A It ^■ 


rudder. Beautiful weather, but cold, -i8° C. at 8 p.m. 
The result of the medical insijcction to-day was the dis- 
covery that we still have bugs on board ; and I do not 
know what we are to do. We have no steam now, and 
must fix our hopes on the cold. 

" I must confess that this discovery made me feel quite 
ill. If bugs got into our winter furs the thing was hope- 
less. So the next day there was a regular feast of purifi- 
cation, according to the most rigid antiseptic prescriptions. 
Each man had to deliver up his old clothes, every stitch 
of them, wash himself, and dress in new ones from top to 
toe. All the old clothes, fur rugs, and such things, were 
carefully carried up on to the deck, and kept there the 
whole winter. This was more than even these animals 
could stand; 53^ C. of cold proved to be too much for 
them, and we saw no more of them. As the bug is made 
to say in the popular rhyme: 

" ' Put me in the boiling pot, and shut nie down tight ; 
But don't leave me out on a cold winter night ! ' 

"Friday, October 6th. Cold, down to ii"" below zero 
(Fahr.). To-day we have begun to rig up the windmill. 
The ice has been packing to the north of the Franis 
stern. As the dogs will freeze if they are kept tied up 
and get no exercise, we let them loose this afternoon, 
and are going to try if we can leave them so. Of course 
they at once began to fight, and some poor creatures 
limped away from the battle-field scratched and torn. 





5 So 













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1, I 


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1 1 1 





But otherwise great joy prevailed ; they leaped, and ran, 
and rolled themselves in the snow. Brilliant aurora in 
the evening. 

" Saturday, October 7th. Still cold, with the same 
northerly wind we have had all these last days. I am 
afraid we are drifting far south now. A few days ago 
we were, according to the observations, in 78° 47' north 
latitude. That was 16' south in less than a week. This 
is too much ; but we must make it up again ; we must get 
north. It means going away from home now, but soon 
it will mean going nearer home. What depth of beauty, 
with an undercurrent of endless sadness, there is in these 
dreamily glowing evenings ! The vanished sun has left 
its track of melancholy flame. Nature's music, which 
fills all space, is instinct with sorrow that all this beauty 
should be spread out day after day, week after week, 
year after year, over a dead world. Why .'' Sunsets are 
always sad at home too. This thought makes the sight 
seem doubly precious here and doubly sad. There is 
red burning blood in the west against the cold snow — 
and to think that this is the sea, stiffened in chains, in 
death, and that the sun will soon leave us, and we shall 
be in the dark alone ! ' And the earth was without form 
and void ;' is this the sea that is to come.? 

" Sunday, October 8th. Beautiful weather. Made a 
snow-shoe expedition westward, all the dogs following. 
The running was a little spoiled by the brine, which 
soaks up through the snow from the surface of the ice — 







i<f ' ' 

1 1 ji I 


flat, newly frozen ice, with older, uneven blocks breaking 
through it. I seated myself on a snow hummock far 
away out; the dogs crowded round to be patted. My 
eye wandered over the great snow plain, endless and 
solitary — nothing but snow, snow everywhere. 

" The observations to-day gave us an unpleasant sur- 
prise; we are now down in 78° 35' north latitude; but 
there is a simple enough explanation of this when one 
thinks of all the northerly and northwesterly wind we 
have had lately, with open water not far to the south 
of us. As soon as everything is frozen we must go north 
again; there can be no question of that; but none the 
less this state of matters is unpleasant. I find some 
comfort in the fact that we have also drifted a little 
east, so that at all events w^e have kept with the wind 
and are not drifting down westward. 

" Monday, October 9th. I was feverish both during 
last night and to-day. Goodness knows what is the 
meaning of such nonsense. When I was taking water 
samples in the morning I discovered that the water- 
lifter suddenly stopped at the depth of a little less than 
80 fathoms. It was really the bottom. So we have 
drifted south again to the shallow water. We let the 
weight lie at the bottom for a little, and saw by the line 
that for the moment we were drifting north. This was 
some small comfort, anyhow. 

" All at once in the afternoon, as we were sitting idly 
chattering, a deafening noise began, and the whole ship 



shook. This was the first ice -pressure. Every one 
rushed on deck to look. The Fram behaved beauti- 
fully, as I had expected she would. On pushed the ice 
with steady pressure, but down under us it had to go, 
and we were slowly lifted up. These ' squeezings ' con- 
tinued off and on all the afternoon, and were sometimes 
so strong that the Fram was lifted several feet ; but then 
the ice could no longer bear her, and she broke it below 
her. Towards evening the whole slackened again, till 
we lay in a good-sized piece of open water, and had hur- 
riedly to moor her to our old floe, or we should have 
drifted off. There seems to be a good deal of move- 
ment in the ice here, Peter has just been telling us 
that he hears the dull booming of strong pressures not 
far off. 

"Tuesday, October loth. The ice continues dis- 

"Wednesday, October nth. The bad news was 
brought this afternoo t that ' Job ' is dead, torn in pieces 
by the other dogs. He was found a good way from the 
ship, ' Old Suggen ' lying watching the corpse, so that 
no other dog could get to it. They are wretches, these 
dogs; no day passes without a fight. In the day-time 
one of us is generally at hand to stop it, but at night 
they seldom fail to tear and bite one of their comrades. 
Poor 'Barabbas' is almost frightened out of his wits. 
He stays on board now, and dares not venture on the 
ice, because he knows the other monsters would set on 

!■? :A 







f'.' i 


him. There is not a trace of chivalry about these curs. 
When there is a fight, the whole pack rush like wild 
beasts on the loser. But is it not, perhaps, the law of 




nature that the strong, and not the weak, should be pro- 
tected ? Have not we human beings, perhaps, been tr}-- 
ing to turn nature topsy-turvy by protecting and doincr 
our best to keep life in all the weak ? 

" The ice is restless, and has pressed a good deal 
to-day again. It begins with a gentle crack and moan 
along the side of the ship, which gradually sounds louder 
in e\cry key. Now it is a high plaintive tone, now it 
is a grumble, now it is a snarl, and the ship gives a 
start up. The noise steadily grows till it is like all the 



pipes of an organ ; the ship trembles and shakes, and 
rises by fits and starts, or is sometimes gently lifted. 
There is a pleasant, comfortable feeling in sitting listen- 
ing to all this uproar and knowing the strength of our 
ship. Many a one would have been crushed long ago. 
But outside the ice is ground against our ship's sides, 
the piles of broken-up floe are forced under her heavy, 
invulnerable hull, and we lie as if in a bed. Soon the 
noise begins to die down; the ship sinks into its old 
position again, and presently all is silent as before. In 
several places round us the ice is piled up, at one spot 
to a considerable height. Towards evening there was a 
slackening, and we lay again in a large, open pool. 

"Thursday, October 12th. In the morning we and 
our floe were drifting on blue water in the middle of a 
large, open lane, which stretched far to the north, and in 
the north the atmosphere at the horizon was dark and 
blue. As far as we could see from the crow's-nest with 
the small field-glass, there was no end to the open water, 
with only single pieces of ice sticking up in it here and 
there. These are extraordinary changes. I wondered 
if we should prepare to go ahead. But they had long 
ago taken the machinery to pieces for the winter, so 
that it would be a matter of time to get it ready for 
use again. Perhaps it would be best to wait a little. 
Clear weather, with sunshine— a beautiful, inspiriting 
winter day— but the same northerly wind. Took sound- 
ings, and found 50 fathoms of water (90 metres). We 



n ' ' 

are drifting slowly southward. Towards evening the 
ice packed together again with much force ; but the 
Fram can hold her own. In the afternoon I fished in 
a depth of about 27 fathoms (50 metres) with Murray's 
silk net,* and had a good take, especially of small crusta- 
ceans {Copepoda, Ostracoda, Aniphipoda, etc.) and of a 
little Arctic worm [Spadelld) that swims about ■■ ' r :ea. 
It is horribly difficult to manage a little fishing 1: No 

sooner have you found an opening to slip your tackle 
through than it begins to close again, and you have to 
haul up as hard as you can, so as not to get the line 
nipped and lose everything. It is a pity, for there are 
interesting hauls to be made. One sees phosphores- 
cence! in the water here whenever there is the smallest 
opening in the ice. There is by no means such a scarc- 
ity of animal life as one might expect. 

" Friday, October 13th. Now we are in the very midst 
of what the prophets would have had us dread so much. 
The ice is pressing and packing round us with a noise 
like thunder. It is piling itself up into long walls, and 
heaps high enough to reach a good way up the Frams 
rigging; in fact, it is trying its very utmost to grind the 
Fram into powder. But here we sit quite tranquil, not 

*Tliis silk bag-net is intended to be dragged after a boat or ship to 
catch the living animals or plant organisms at various depths. We used 
them constantly during our drifting, sinking them to dififerent depths 
under the ice, and they often brought up rich spoils. 

tThis phosphorescence is principally due to small luminous Crus- 
tacea {Copepoda). 



) 1 



(From a photograph) 


^R ; r^HB 




I n 

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f\ -fl 










even going up to look at all the hurly-burly, but just 
chatting and laughing as usual. Last night there was 
tremendous pressure round our old dog- floe. The ice 
had towered up higher than the highest point of the 
floe and hustled down upon it. It had quite spoiled a 
well, where we till now had found good drinking-water, 
filling it with brine. Furthermore, it had cast itself 
over our stern ice -anchor and part of the steel cable 
which held it, burying them so effectually that we had 
afterwards to cut the cable. Then it covered our planks 
and sledges, which stood on the ice. Before long the 
dogs were in danger, and the watch had to turn out all 
hands to save them. At last the floe split in two. This 
morning the ice was one scene of melancholy confusion, 
gleaming in the most glorious sunshine. Piled up all 
round us were high, steep ice walls. Strangely enough, 
we had lain on the very verge oi the worst confusion, 
and had escaped with the loss of an ice-anchor, a piece 
of steel cable, a few planks and other bits of wood, and 
half of a Samoyede sledge, all of which might have been 
saved if we had looked after them in time. But the 
men have grown so indifferent to the pressure now that 
they do not even go up to look, let it thunder ever so 
hard. They feel that the ship can stand it, and so long 
as that is the case there is nothing to hurt except the ice 

" In the morning the pressure slackened again, and 
we were soon lying in a large piece of open water, as we 


FAN 77//': ST NO/r/7/ 


; !i 


did yesterday. To-day, again, this stretched far away 
towards the northern horizon, where the same dark at- 
mosphere indicated some extent of open water. I now 
gave the order to put the engine together again ; they 
told me it could be done in a day and a half or at most 
two days. We must go north and see what there is up 
there. I think it i)ossible that it may be the boundary 
between the ice-drift the Jcannritc was in and the pack 
we are now drifting south with— or can it be land? 

" We had kept com|)any quite long enough with the 
old, now broken-up floe, so worked ourselves a little way 
astern after dinner, as the ice was beginning to draw 
together. Towards evening the pressure began again in 
earnest, and was especially bad round the remains of our 
old floe, so that I believe we may congratulate ourselves 
on having left it. It is evident that the pressure here 
stands in connection with, is perhaps caused by, the tidal 
wave. It occurs with the greatest regularity. The ice 
slackens twice and packs twice in 24 hours. The 
pressure has hajjpened about 4, 5, and 6 o'clock in the 
morning, and almost at exactly the same hour in the 
afternoon, and in between we have always lain for some 
part of the time in open water. The very great pressure 
just now is probably due to the spring-tide; we had new 
moon on the 9th, which was the first day of the press- 
ure Then it was just after mid-day when we noticed 
it, but it has been later every day, and now it is at 

8 P.M." 



The theory of the ice - pressure b(!ing caused to a 
considerable extent by the tidal wave has been ad- 
vanced repeatedly by Arctic explorers. During the 
Fram's drifting we had better opportunity than most 
of them to study this phenomenon, and our experience 
seems to leave no doubt that over a wide region the 
tide produces movement and pressure of the ice. It 
occurs especially at the time of the spring- tides, and 
n-iore at new moon than at full moon. During the in- 
tervening jieriods there was, as a rule, little or no trace 
of pressure. But these tidal pressures did not occur 
during the whole time of our drifting. We noticed 
them especially the first autumn, while we were in the 
neighborhood of the open sea north of Siberia, and 
the last year, when the Fram was drawing near the 
open Atlantic Ocean; they were less noticeable while 
we were in the polar basin. Pressure occurs here more 
irregularly, and is mainly caused by the wind driv- 
ing the ice. When one pictures to one's self these 
enormous ice -masses, drifting in a certain direction, 
suddenly meeting hinderances — for example, ice-masses 
drifting from the opposite direction, owing to a change 
of wind in some more or less distant quarter — it is 
easy to understand the tremendous pressure that must 

Such an ice conflict is undeniably a stupendous 
spectacle. One feels one's self to be in the presence 
of titanic forces, and it is easy to understand how 





timid souls may be ovoiawcd and feel as if nothing 
could stand before it. I<or when the packing begins in 
earnest it seems as though there could be no spot on 
the earth's surface left unshaken. First you hear a sound 
like the thundering rumbling of an earthquake far away 
on the great waste; then you hear it in several places, al- 
ways coming nearer and nearer. The silent ice world re- 
echoes with thunders; nature's giants are awakening to 
the battle. The ice cracks on every side of you, and be- 
gins to pile itself uj); and all of a sudden you too find 
yourself in the midst of the struggle. There are bowlings 
and thunderings round )ou ; you feel the ice trembling, 
and hear it rumbling under your feet; there is no peace 
anywhere. In the semi-darkness you can see it piling and 
tossing itself up into high ridges nearer and nearer you 
—floes lo, 12, 15 feet thick, broken, and Hung on the top 
of each other as if they were feather-weights. They are 
quite near you now, and you jump away to save your life. 
But the ice splits in front of you, a black gulf opens, and 
water streams up. You turn in another direction, but 
there through the dark you can just see a new rid^^e of 
rrDvmg ice-blocks coming towards you. You try another 
direction, but there it is the same. All round there is 
thundering and roaring, as of some enormous waterfall, 
with explosions like cannon salvoes. Still nearer you it 
comes. The floe you arc standing on gets smaller and 
smaller; water pours over it; there can be no escape 
except by scrambling over the rolling ice-blocks to ^et to 


I % 



the other side of the pack. I3ut now the disturbance 
begins to calm down. The noise passes on, and is lost 
by degrees in the distance. 

This is what goes on away there in the north month 
after month and year after year. The ice is split and 
piled up into mounds, which extend in every direction. 
If one could get a bird's-eye view of the ice-fields, they 
would seem to be cut up into squares or meshes by a 
network of these packed ridges, or pressure-dikes, as we 
called them, because they reminded us so much of snow- 
covered stone dikes at home, such as, in many parts of 
the country, are used to enclose fields. At first sitrht 
these pressure-ridges appeared to be scattered about in 
all possible directions, but on closer inspection I was 
sure that I discovered certain directions which they 
tended to take, and especially that they were apt to run 
at right angles to the course of the pressure which 
produced them. In the accounts of Arctic expeditions 
one often reads descriptit)ns oi pressure-ridges or press- 
ure-hummocks as high as 50 feet. These are fairy tales. 
The authors of such fantastic descriptions cannot have 
taken the trouble to measure. During the whole period 
of our drifting and of our travels over the ice-fields in 
the far north I only once saw a hummock of a greater 
height than 23 feet. Unfortunately, I had not the op- 
portunity of measuring this one, but I believe I may say 
with certainty that it was very nearly 30 feet high. All 
the highest blocks I measured — and they were many— 




W' ' 

m '*• 




r fi' 

had a height of i8 to 23 feet; and I can maintain with 
certainty that the packing of sea ice to a height of over 
25 feet is a very rare exception.* 

"Saturday, October 14th. To-day we have got on 
the rudder; the engine is pretty well in order, and we 
are clear to start north when the ice opens to-morrow 
morning. It is still slackening and packing quite 
regularly twice a day, so that we can calculate on 
it beforehand. To-day we had the same open chan- 
nel to the Tiorth, and beyond it open sea as far as 
our view extended. What can this mean .? This even- 
ing the pressure has been pretty violent. The floes 
were packed up against the Fram on the port side, and 
were once or twice on the point of toppling over the rail. 
The ice, however broke below; they tumbled back 
again, and had to go under us after all. It is not thick 
ice, and cannot do much damage; but the force is some- 
thing enormous. On the masses come incessantly without 
a pause ; they look irresistible ; but slowly and surely they 
are crushed against the Fratns sides. Now (8.30 p.m.) 
the pressure has at last stopped. Clear evening, spark- 
ling stars, and flaming northern lights." 

I had finished writing m}- diary, gone to bed, and 

* Markham's account gives us to understand that on the nortli side 
of Grinnell Land he came across hummocks which measured 43 Icet. 
I do not feel at ail certain that these were not in reality icebergs; but it 
is no doubt possible that such hummocks might be formed by violent 
pressure against land or something resembling it. After our experience, 
however. I cannot believe in the possibility of their occurring in open sea. 


'M i 


■^H! ■ 


m 1 



was lying reading, in The Origin of Species, about the 
struggle for existence, when I heard the dogs out on the 
ice making more noise than usual. I called into the 
saloon that some one ought to go up and see if it was 
bears they were barkiitg at. Hansen went, and came 
back immediately, saying that he believed he had seen 
some large animal out in the dark. " Go and shoot it, 
then." That he was quite ready to do, and went up 
agam at once, accompanied by some of the others. A 
shot went off on deck above my head, then another; 
shot followed shot, nine in all. Johansen and Henriksen 
rushed down for more cartridges, and declared that the 
creature was shot, it was roaring so horribly; but so far 
they had only indistinctly seen a large grayish - white 
mass out there in the dark, moving about among the 
dogs. Now they were going on to the ice after it. 
Four of them set off, and not far away they really did 
find a dead bear, with marks of two shots. It was a 
young one. The old one must be at hand, and the doos 
were still barking loudly. Now they all felt sure that 
they had seen two together, and that the other also 
must be badly wounded. Johansen and Henriksen 
heard it groaning in the distance when they were out 
on the ice again afterwards to fetch a knife they had 
left lying where the dead one had lain. The creature 
had been dragged on board and skinned at once, before 
it had time to stiffen in the cold. 

"Sunday, October 15th. To our surprise, the ice 





f (f 

did not slacken avvl^y much during last night after the 
violent pressure; and, what was worse, there was no 
indication of slackening in the morning, now that we 
were quite ready to go. Slight signs of it showed 
themselves a little later, upon which I gave orders to 
get up steam; and while this was being done I took 
a stroll on the ice, to look for traces of yesterday 
evening. I found tracks not only of the bear that had 
been killed and of a larger one that might be the 
mother, but of a third, which must have been badly 
wounded, as it had sometimes dragged itself on its hind 
quarters, and had left a broad track of blood. After 
following the traces for a good way and discovering 
that I had no weapon to despatch the animal with but 
my own fists, I thought it would be as well to return to 
the ship to get a gun and companions who would help 
to drag the bear back. I had rJso some small hope 
that in the meantime the ice might have slackened, 
so that, in place of going after game, we might o-q 
north with the Fram. But no such luck ! So I put on 
my snow-shoes and set off after our bear, some of the 
dogs with me, and one or two men following. At 
some distance we came to the place where it had spent 
the night — poor beast, a ghastly night! Here I also 
saw tracks of the mother. One shudders to think of her 
watching over her poor young one, which must have had 
its back shot through. Soon we came up to the cripple, 
dragging itself away from us over the ice as best it could. 



Seeing no other way of escape, it threw itself into a 
small water opening and dived time after time. While 
we were putting a noose on a rope the dogs rushed 
round the hole as if they had gone mad, and it was 
difficult to keep them from jumping into the water after 
the bear. At last we were ready, and the next time 
the creature came up it got a noose round one paw and 
a ball in the head. While the others drew it to the 
ship, I followed the mother's tracks for some way, but 
could not find her. I had soon to turn back to see if 
there was no prospect of moving the Fram; but I 
found that the ice had packed together again a little at 
the very time when we could generally calculate on its 
slackening. In the afternoon Hansen and I went off 
once more after the bear. We saw, as I expected, that 
she had come back, and had followed her daughter's 
funeral procession for some way, but then she had 
gone off east, and as it grew dark we lost her tracks 
in some newly packed ice. We have only one matter 
for regret in connection with this bear episode, and 
that is the disappearance of two dogs — ' Narrifas ' and 
' Fox.' Probably they went off in terror on the first 
appearance of the three bears. They may have been 
hurt, but I have seen nothing to suggest this. The ice 
is quiet this evening also, only a little pressure about 
7 o'clock. 

"Monday, October i6th. Ice quiet and close. Ob- 
servations on the 1 2th placed us in 78° 5' north latitude. 



Steadily southward. This is almost depressing. The 

two runaways returned this niornincr. 

"Tuesday, October 17th. Continuous movement in 

the ice. It slackened a little again during the night; 

some way off to starboard there was a large opening. 

Shortly after midnight there was strong pressure, and 

between 11 and 12 v.m. came a tremendous squeeze; 

since then it has slackened again a little. 

"Wednesday, October i8th. When the meteorolo- 
gist, Johansen, was on deck this morning reading the 
thermometers, he noticed that the dogs, which are now 
tied up on board, were barking loudly down at some- 
thing on the ice. He bent over the rail astern, near the 
rudder, and saw the back of a bear below him, close in at 
the ship's side. Off he went for a gun, and the animal 
fell with a couple of shots. We saw afterwards by its 
tracks that it had inspected all the heaps of sweepings 
round the ship. 

" A little later in the morning I went for a stroll on 
the ice. Hansen and Johansen were busy with some 
magnetic observations to the south of the ship. It was 
beautiful sunshiny weather. I was standing beside an 
open pool a little way ahead, examining the formation 
and growth of the new ice, when I heard a gun go off on 
board. I turned, and just caught a glimpse of a bear 
making ofT towards the hummocks. It was Henriksen 
who had seen it from the deck coming marching towards 
the ship. When it was a few paces off it saw Hansen 

01 *■;/■ 



and Johansen, and made straight for them. By this 
time Henriksen had got his gun, but it missed fire 
several times. He has an unfortunate Hking for smear- 
ing the lock so well with vaseline that the spring works 
as if it lay in soft soap. At last it went off, and the ball 
went through the bear's back and breast in a slanting 
direction. The animal stood up on its hind-legs, fought 
the air with its fore-paws, then flung itself forward and 
sprang off, to fall after about 30 steps; the ball had 
grazed the heart. It was not till the shot went off that 
Hansen saw the bear, and then he rushed up and put 
two revolver - balls into its head. It was a larse bear, 
the largest we had got yet. 

"About midday I was in the crow's-nest. In spite of 
the clear weather I could not discover land on any side. 

The opening far to the north has q. disappeared; but 

during the night a large new one has formed quite close 
to us. It stretches both north and south, and has now a 
covering of ice. The pressure is chiefly confined to the 
edges of this opening, and can be traced in walls of 
packed ice as far as the horizon in both directions. To 
the east the ice is quite unbroken and flat. We have 
lain just in the worst pressure. 

"Thursday, October 19th. The ice again slackened 
a little last night. In the morning I attempted a drive 
with six of the dogs. When I had managed to harness 
them to the Samoyede sledge, had seated myself on it, 
and called ' Pr-r-r-r, pr-r-r-r !' they went off in quite good 




* fl 

V\ I 

style over the ice. But it was not long before we came 
to some high pack-ice and had to turn. This was hardly 
done before they were off back to the ship at lightning 
speed, and they were not to be got away from it again. 
Round and round it they went, from refuse-heap to refuse- 
heap. If I started at the gangway on the starboard side, 
and tried by thrashing them to drive them out over the 
ice, round the stern they flew to the gangway on the port 
side. I tugged, swore, and tried everything I could 
think of, but all to no purpose. I got out and tried to 
hold the sledge back, but was pulled off my feet, and 
dragged merrily over the ice in my smooth sealskin 
breeches, on back, stomach, side—just as it hapjiened. 
When I managed to stop them at some pieces of pack-ice 
or a dust-heap, round they went again to the starboard 
gangway, with me dangling behind, swearing madly that 
I would break every bone in their bodies when I o-ot at 
them. This game went on till they probably tired of 
it, and thought they might as well go my way for a 
<:hange. So now they went off beautifully across the flat 
floe until I stopped for a moment's breathing space. But 
at the first movement I made in the sledge they were off 
again, tearing wildly back the way we had come. I held 
on convulsively, pulled, raged, and used the whip; but the 
more I lashed the faster they went on their own way. At 
last I got them .-topped by sticking my legs down into 
the snow between the sledge-shafts, and driving a strong 
seal-hook into it as well. But while I was off my guard 



for a moment they gave a tug. I lay with my hindcr-part 
where my legs had been, and we went on at lightning 
speed — that substantial part of my body leaving a deep 


(Drawn hy A. Block) 

track in the snow. This sort of thing went on time after 
time. I lost the board I should have sat on, then the 
whip, then my gloves, then my cap— these losses not im. 





proving my temper. Once or twice I ran round in front 
of the dogs, and tried to force them to turn bv lashino- at 
them with the whip. They jumped to both sides and 
only tore on the faster ; the reins got twisted round my 
ankles, and I was thrown flat on the sledge, and they went 
on more wildly than ever. This was my first experience 
in dog driving on my own account, and I will not pretend 
that I was proud of it. I inwardly congratulated myself 
that my feats had been unobserved. 

" In the afternoon I examined the melted water of the 
newly formed brownish-red ice, of which there is a crood 
deal in the openings round us here. The microscope 
pro/ed this color to be produced by swarms of small or- 
ganisms, chiefly plants— quantities of diatomjE and some 
algae, a few of them very peculiar in form. 

"Saturday, October 21st. I have stayed in to-day 
because of an affection of the muscles, or rheumatism, 
which I have had for some days on the right side of 
my body, and for which the doctor is ' massasine ' 
me, thereby greatly adding to my sufferings. Have 
I really grown so old and palsied, or is the whole 
thing imagination.? It is all I can do to limp about; 
but I just wonder if I could not get up and run with 
the best of them if there happened to be any great 
occasion for it : I almost believe I could. A nice 
Arctic hero of 32, lying here in my berth! Have 
had a good time reading home letters, dreaming my- 
self at home, dreaming of the home-coming — in how 

Jpit. I 




j:tA' IJIKS T YOR T/f 


(^ i 


provmq my Icmjxr. On. ^ ,m- t\vi(:i> 1 i n, round in front 
of the dc.'gs, and tn'od lo force them to tuiii In l.tshiii- at 
th'ji with the whip. Thi-v jumped (,. hoM. ■ anrl 

otdv : nil du' f.i.stci- : the rein?? got twi-. ■ .'• i 

ankles, and I was thrown fia' on the sledi" 
on more wildlv than »■■•■' '"!'''■; \\.i> n,\ ,ii.^', 
in dog dri\in<^- on m\ ... -nut, and 1 will r 

that 1 was proud of it. t ;i!w.u-fliy congratidatcd inybc.l 
thjt my h'ats ha(! mobserved. 

(n the afternoon i examined the mtdted w 
newly forme<I brovvnisli-red ice, of whicli there is a trood 
deal in the openings round us hen,-. The nn'( !■ 
proved this color t<^ be produced bv swarms of small or- 
ganisms. cliietiv Dhints— onantitics of diatonirc and some 
alga-, a i 

•' Saturday, Octol). , 

because ot an affection of ^-h 
wliich I have had for ■• ■ 
'^:'- h'Ociy, and for win. )■. 

'■' thereby greatly adding lo ni) -ur:<.:;ing.:,. ij..,- 
i re ■ V 'coHn so old anri palsied, or is the '^hoio 
thing rrr.agi nation,^ If is all f can do to limp about; 
b^' ' • f I could not oj' vii!) 

>'ie h<.:s' if tlverc hapj)ened to b, an^ • ; 

occasion I almost believ- [ i.aii^; A ni'.^c 

/\rctic hero ol 32, Iving t,,, Jx-rth! Ifav-' 

had a good tinie reading lionie letters, dreaming- m\ 
self at home, dreaming of the hoine-i (,ming — in how 











vm f 



Hl^ i^i 

!r I 


ft it: 

I ' 



many years? Successful or unsuccessful, what does that 

" I had a soundin- taken; it showed over n fathoms 
(135 m,),so we are in deeper w.iter again. The sound- 
ing-line indicated that wc are drifting southwest. I do 
not understand this steady drift southward. There has 
not been much wind either lately; there is certainly a 
little from the north to-day, but not strong. What can 
be the reason of it? With all my information, all my 
reasoning, all my putting of two and two together. I can- 
not account for any south-going current here-there 
ought to be a north-going one. If the current runs 
south here, how is that great open sea we steamed north 
across to be explained? and the bay we ended in 
farthest north ? These could only be produced b^^ the 
north-gomg current which I presupposed. The only 
thing which puts me out a bit is that west-going current 
which we had against us during our whole voyage alone 
the Siberian coast. We are never going to be carried 
away south by the New Siberian Islands, and then west 
along the coast of Siberia, and then north by Cape 
Chelyuskin, the very way we came! That would be 
rather too much of a good thing_to say nothing of its 
being dead against every calculation. 

" Well, who cares? Somewhere we must go ; we can't 
stay here forever. ' It will all come right in the end/ as 
the saying goes ; but I wish we could get on a little faster 
wherever we are going. On our Greenland expedition 




too, we were carried south to begin with, and that ended 

" Sundaj^ October 2 2d. Henriksen took soundings 
this morning, and found 70 fathoms (129 m.) of water. 
' If we are drifting at all,' said he, 'it is to the east; but 
there seems to be almost no movement.' No wind to- 
day. I am keeping in my den. 

" Monday, October 23d. Still in the den. To-day, 
5 fathoms shallower than yesterday. The line points 
southwest, which means that we are drifting northeast- 
ward. Hansen has reckoned out the observation for the 
19th, and finds that we must have got 10 minutes 
farther north, and must be in 78° 15' N. lat. So at last, 
now that the wind has gone down, the north-going cur- 
rent is making itself felt. Some channels have opened 
near us, one along the side of the ship, and one ahead, 
near the old channel. Only slight signs of pressure in 
the afternoon. 

" Tuesday, October 24th. Between 4 and 5 a.m. 
there was strong pressure, and the Fram was lifted up a 
little. It looks as if the pressure were going to begin 
again ; we have spring-tide with full moon. The ice 
opened so much this morning that the Fram was afloat 
in her cutting ; later on it closed again, and about 1 1 
there was some strong pressure; then came a quiet time; 
but in the afternoon the pressure began once more, and 
was violent from 4 to 4.30. The Fram Avas shaken 
and lifted up; didn't mind a bit. Peter gave it as his 




opinion that the pressure was coming from the north- 
east, for he had heard the noise approaching from that 
direction. Johansen let down the silk net for me about 
1 1 fathoms. It was all he could do to get it up again 
in time, but it brought up a good catch. Am still keep- 
ing in. 

" Wednesday, October 25th. We had a horrible press- 
ure last night. I awoke and felt the Fram beina- lifted 
shaken, and tossed about, and heard the loud crackincr of 
the ice breaking against her sides. After listenincj for a 
little while I fell asleep again, with a snug feeling that it 
was good to be on board the Fram; it wouid be con- 
foundedly uncomfortable to have to be ready to turn out 
every time there was a little pressure, or to have to go 
off with our bundles on our backs like the Tegethoff 

" It is quickly getting darker. The sun stands lower 
and lower every time we see it ; soon it will disappear 
altogether, if it has not done so already. The long, dark 
winter is upon us, and glad shall we be to see the 
spring; but nothing matters much if we could only begin 
to move north. There is now southwesterly wind, and 
the windmill, which has been ready for several days, has 
been tried at last and works splendidly. We have beau- 
tiful electric light to-day, though the wind has not been 
especially strong (5-8 m. per second). Electric lamps 
are a grand institution. What a strong influence light 
has on one's spirits! There was a noticeable brio-ht- 



ening-up at the dinner-table to-day; the light acted on 
our spirits like a draught of good wine. And how fes- 
tive the saloon looks! We felt it quite a great occasion 
— drank Oscar Dickson's health, and voted him the best 
of good fellows. 

" Wonderful moonshine this evening, light as day ; 
and along with it aurora borealis, yellow and strange in 
the white moonlight ; a large ring round the moon — all 
this over the great stretch of white, shining ice, here and 
there in our neighborhood piled up high by the pressure. 
And in the midst of this silent silvery ice -world the 
windmill sweeps round its dark wings against the deep- 
blue sky and the aurora. A strange contrast: civiliza- 
tion making a sudden incursion into this frozen ghostly 

" To - morrow is the Fi'-anis birthday. How many 
memories it recalls of the launch-day a year ago ! 

"Thursday, October 26th. 54 fathoms (90 m.) of 
water when the soundings were taken this morning. 
We are moving quickly north— due north— says Peter. 
It does look as if things were going better. Great cel- 
ebration of the day, beginning with target -shooting. 
Then we had a splendid dinner of four courses, which 
put our digestive apparatus to a severe test. The 
Fravis health was drunk amidst great and stormy ap- 
plause. The proposer's words were echoed by all hearts 
when he said that she was such an excellent ship for 
our purpose that we could not imagine a better (great 

Kit ' )i, 





applause), and we therefore wished her, and ourselves 
with her, long life (hear, hear!). After supper came 
strawberry and lemon punch, and prizes were presented 
with much ceremony and a good deal of fun ; all being 
'taken off' in turn in suitable mottoes, for the most 
part composed by the ship's doctor. There was a prize 
for each man. The first prize-taker was awarded the 
wooden cross of the Order of the Fram, to wear sus- 
pended from his neck by a ribbon of white tape ; the 
last received a mirror, in which to see his fallen sreat- 
ness. Smoking in the saloon was allowed this evening, 
so now pipes, toddy, and an animated game of whist 
ended a bright and successful holiday. 

"Sitting here now alone, my thoughts involuntarily 
turn to the year that has gone since we stood up there 
on the platform, and she threw the champagne against 
the bow, saying: ' Fram is your name!' and the strong, 
heavy hull began to glide so gently. I held her hand 
tight; the tears came into eyes and throat, and one 
could not get out a word. The sturdy hull dived into 
the glittering water; a sunny haze lay over the whole 
picture. Never shall I forget the moment we stood 
there together, looking out over. the scene. And to think 
of all that has happened these four last months ! Sepa- 
rated by sea and land and ice; coming years, too, ly- 
ing between us— it is all just the continuation of what 
happened that day. But how long is it to last.? I 
have such difficulty in feeling that I am not to see 


. ,1- 



\ m 

' M 

home again soon. When I begin to reflect, I know that 
it may be long, but I will not believe it. 

" To-day, moreover, we took solemn farewell of the 
sun. Half of its disk showed at noon for the last time 
above the edge of the ice in the south, a flattened body, 
with a dull red glow, but no heat. Now we are en- 
tering the night of winter. What is it brinoins us? 
Where shall we be when the sun returns.^ No one 
can tell. To console us for the loss of the aun we 
have the most wonderful moonlight; the moon goes 
round the sky night and day. There is, strange to 
say, little pressure just now; only an occasional slight 
squeeze. But the ice often opens considerably; there 
are large pieces of water in several directions; to-day 
there were some good-sized ones to the south. 

"Friday, October 27th. The soundings this morn- 
ing showed 52 fathoms (95 m.) of water. According 
to observations tal en yesterday afternoon, we are about 
3' farther nortl^ and a little farther west than on the 
19th. It is disgusting the way we are muddling about 
here. W^e must have got into a hole where the ice 
grinds round and round, and can't get farther. And the 
time is passing all to no purpose; and goodness only 
knows how long this sort of thing may go on. If only a 
good south wind would come and drive us north out of 
this hobble ! The boys h . - taken up the rudder acrain 
to-day. While they were working at this in the after- 
noon, it suddenly grew as bright as day. A strange fire- 



ball crossed the sky in the west— giving a bluish-white 
hght, they said. Johansen ran down to the saloon to tell 
Hansen and me ; he said they could still see the bright 
trails it had left in its train. When we got on deck we 
saw a bent bow of light in the Triangle, near Deheb. 
The meteor had disappeared in the neighborhood of 
Epsilon Cygni (constellation Swan), but its light re- 
mained for a long time floating in the air like glowing 
dust. No one had seen the actual fire-ball, as they had 
all had their backs turned to it, and they could not say 
if it had burst. This is the second great meteor of 
exceptional splendor that has appeared to us in these 
regions. The ice has a curious inclination to slacken, 
without pressure having occurred, and every now and 
then we find the ship floating in open water. This is 
the case to-day. 

"Saturday, October 28th. Nothing of any impor- 
tance. Moonshine night and day. A glow in the south 
from the sun. 

" Sunday, October 29th. Peter shot a white fox this 
morning close in to the ship. For some time lately we 
have been seeing fox-tracks in the mornings, and one 
Sunday Mogstad saw the fox itself. It has, no doubt, 
been coming regularly to feed on the offal of the bears. 
Shortly after the first one was shot another was seen ; it 
came and smelt its dead comrade, but soon set off again 
and disappeared. It is remarkable that there should be 
so many foxes on this drift-ice so far from land. But, 



' ' J 



flM '% 

after all, it is not much more surprising than my coming 
upon fox-tracks out on the ice between Jan Mayen and 

" Monday, October 30th. To-day the temperature has 
gone down to 18° below zero { — 2f C). I took up the 
dredge I had put out yesterday. It brought up two 
pails of mud from the bottom, and I have been busy all 
day washing this out in the saloon in a large bath, to c^et 
the many animals contained in it. They were chiefly 
starfish, waving starfish, medusae {Astrophytou\ sea-slugs, 
coral insects {Alcyoiiaria). worms, sponges, shell-fish, and 
crustaceans ; and were, of course, all carefully preserved 
in spirits. 

"Tuesday, October 31st. Forty-nine fathoms (90 m.) 
of water to-day, and the current driving us hard to the 
southwest. We have good wind for the mill now, and 
the electric lamps burn all day. The arc lamp under the 
skylight makes us quite forget the want of sun. Oh! 
light is a glorious thing, and life is fair in spite of all 
privations ! This is Sverdrup's birthday, and we had 
revolver practice in the morning. Of course a map-- 
nificent dinner of five courses — chicken soup, boiled 
mackerel, reindeer ribs with baked cauliflower and po- 
tatoes, macaroni pudding, and stewed pears with milk 
— Ringnes ale to wash it down. 

" Thursday, November 2d. The temperature keeps 
at about 22° below zero ( — 30" C.) now; but it does not 
feel very cold, the air is so still. We can see the aurora 



borealis in the daytime too. I saw a very remarkable 
display of it about 3 this afternoon. On the south- 
western horizon lay the glow of the sun ; in front of it 
light clouds were swept together— like a cloud of dust 
rising above a distant troop of riders. Then dark 
streamers of gauze seemed to stretch from the dust- 
cloud up over the sky, as if it came from the sun, or 
perhaps rather as if the sun were sucking it in to itself 
from the whole sky. It was only in the southwest that 
these streamers were dark; a little higher up, farther 
from the sun -glow, they gre\v .vnite and shining, like 
fine, glistening silver gauze. They spread over the 
vault of heaven above us, and right away towards the 
north. They certainly resembled aurora borealis; but 
perhaps they might be only light vapors hovering high 
up in the sky and catchin- the sunlight? I stood long 
looking at them. They were singularly still, but they 
were northern lights, changing gradually in the south- 
west into dark cloud-streamers, and ending in the dust- 
cloud over the sun. Hansen saw them too, later, when 
it was dark. There was no doubt of their nature. His 
impression was that the aurort borealis spread from the 
sun over the whole vault of heaven like the stripes on 
the inner skin of an orano-e. 

"Sunday, November 5th. A great race on the ice 
was advertised for to-day. The course was measured, 
marked off, and decorated with flags. The cook had 
prepared the prizes — cakes, numbered, ai,c: properly 


I '! 





m. i 

A' x 

graduated in size. The expectation was great; but it 
turned out that, from excessive training during the few 
last days, the whole crew were so stiff in the legs that 
they were not able to move. We got our prizes all the 
same. One man was blindfolded, and he decided who 
was to have each cake as it was pointed at. This just 
arrangement met with general approbation, and we all 
thought it a pleasanter way of getting the prizes than 
running half a mile for them. 

" So ii is Sunday once more. How the days drag 
past ! I work, read, think, and dream ; strum a little on 
the organ ; go for a walk on the ice in the dark. Low 
on the horizon in the southwest there is the flush of the 
sun — a dark fierce red, as if of blood aglow with all life's 
smouldering longings— low and far-off, like the dream- 
land of youth. Higher in the sky it melts into orange, 
and that into green and pale blue; and then comes deep 
blue, star-sown, and then infinite space, where no dawn 
will ever break. In the north are quivering arches of 
faint aurora, trembling now like awakening longings, but 
presently, as if at the touch of a magic wand, to storm 
as streams of light through the dark blue of heaven — 
never at peace, restless as the very soul of man. I can 
sit and gaze and gaze, my eyes entranced by tl' ■ dream- 
glow yonder in the west, where the moon's thin, pale, 
silver sickle is dipping its point into the blood; and 
my soul is borne beyond the glow, to the sun, so far 
off now — and to the home-coming! Our task accom- 



pHshed, we are making our way up the fjord as fast as 
sail and steam can carry us. On botii sides of us the 
homeland lies smiling in the sun; and then . . . the 
sufferings of a thousand days and hours melt into a 
moment's inexpressible joy. Ugh! that was a bitter 
gust— I jump up and walk on. What am I dreaming 
about! so far yet from the goal— hundreds and hundreds 
of miles between us, ice and land and ice again. And 
we are drifting round and round in a ring, bewildered, 
attaining nothing, only waiting, always waiting, for 
what } 

" • I dreamt I lay on a grassy bank, 
And the sun slione warm and clear; 
I wakened on a desert isle, 
And the sky was black and drear.' 

"One more look at the star of home, the one that 
stood that evening over Cape Chelyuskin, and I creep 
on board, where the windmill is turning in the cold 
wind, and the electric light is streaming out from the 
skylight upon the icy desolation of the Arctic night. 

" Wednesday, November 8th. The storm (which we 
had had the two previous days) is quite gone down; 
not even enough breeze for the mill. We tried letting 
the dogs sleep on the ice last night, instead of bringing 
them on board in the evening, as we have been doing 
lately. The result was that another dog was torn to 
pieces during the night. It was ' Ulabrand,' the old 
brown, toothless fellow, that went this time. ' Job ' and 
' Moses ' had gone the same way before. Yesterday 



11-' ' 

evening's observations jilace us in 77" 43' north latitude 
and 138' S' east longitude. This is farther south than we 
have been yet. No help for it ; but it is a sorry state of 
matters; and that we are farther c.-.^t tlian ever before is 
only a poor consolation. It is new moon again, and we 
may therefore expect pressure; the ice is, in fact, r.j ready 
moving; it began to split on Saturday, and has broken 
up more each day. The channels have been of a good 
size, and the movement becomes more and more per- 
ceptible. Yesterday there was slight pressure, and we 
noticed it again this morning about 5 o'clock. To-day 
the ice by the ship has opened, and we are almost 

" Here I sit in the still winter night on the drifting 
ice-floe, and see only stars above me. Far off I see the 
threads of life twisting themselves into the intricate web 
which stretches unbroken from life's sweet mornino- dawn 
to the eternal death-stillness of the ice. Thought follows 
thought — you pick the whole to pieces, and it seems 
so small — but high above all towers one form. 
Why did yoti take this voyage'? . . . Could I do other- 
wise? Can the river arrest its course and run up 
hill? My plan has come to nothing. Tliat palace 
of theory which I reared, in pride and self-confidence, 
high above all silly objections has fallen like a house of 
cards at the first breath of wind. Build up the most in- 
genious theories and you may be sure of one thing— that 
fact will defy them all. \\\is I so very sure ? Yes, at 






times; but that was self-deception, intoxication, A se- 
cret doubt lurked behind all the reasoning. It seemed 
as though the longer I defended my theory, the nearer I 
came to doubting it. But no, there is no getting over 
the evidence of that Siberian drift-wood. 

" But if, after all, we are on the wrong track, what 
then.'* Only disappointed human hopes, nothing more. 
And even if we perish, what will it matter in the endless 
cycles of eternity t 

" Thursday, November 9th, I took temperatures and 
sea- water samples to-day every 10 yards from the surface 
to the bottom, The depth was gi fathoms. An extraor- 
dinarily even temperature of 30° Fahr. (-1.5 C.) through 
all the layers. I have noticed the same thing before as 
far south as this. So it is only polar water here } There 
is not much pressure ; an inclination to it this morning, 
and a little at 8 o'clock this evening ; also a few squeezes 
later, when we were playing cards. 

" x'riday, November loth. This morning made de- 
spairing examinations of yesterday's water samples with 
Thornoe's electric apparatus. There must be absolute 
stillness on board when this is going on. The 1 len are 
all terrified, slip about on tiptoe, and talk in the lowest 
possible whispers. But presently one begins to hammer 
at something on dec k, and another to file in the engine- 
room, when the chief's commanding voice is at once 
heard ordering silence. These examinations are made 
by means of a telephone, through which a very faint 


:! 'i 





!i ■;! 

noise is heard, which dies slowly away ; the moment at 
which it stops must be exactly ascertained. 

" I find remarkably little salt all the way to the bottom 
in the water here; it must be mixed with fresh water 
from the Siberian river. 

" There was some pressure this morning, going on till 
nearly noon, and we heard the noise of it in several direc- 
tions. In the afternoon the ice was quite slack, with a 
large opening alongside the port side of the ship. At 
half -past seven pretty strong pressure began, the ice 
crashing and grinding along the ship's side. About 
midnight the roar of packing was heard to the south. 

"Saturday, November nth. There has been some 
pressure in the course of the day. The newly formed ice 
is about 15 inches thick. It is hard on the top, but looser 
and porous below. This particular piece of ice began 
to form upon a large opening in the night between the 
27th and 28th October, so it has frozen 15 inches in 15 
days. I observed that it froze 3 inches the first night, 
and 5 inches altogether during the three first nights; so 
that it has taken 12 days to the last 10 inches." 

Even this small observation serves to show that the 
formation of ice goes on most easily where the crust is 
thin, becoming more and more difiicult as the thickness 
increases, until at a certain thickness, as we observed 
later, it stops altogether. " It is curious that the pressure 
has gone on almost all day — no slackening such as we 
have usually observed." 


;v ,, . 







% V 





M 'i 

noise is heard, which dies slowly away; the moment at 
which it stops mu.>t be exactly ascertained. 

" I find remarkably little salt all tlie w.iv to the hot mm 
in the water here; it mast be mixed wiili ■. 
from the Sibei-ian ri\-er. 

There was some pressure this morniivj;, i;(h"( '? 

nearly noon, and we heard the iioise of it in s. 
t'^^'"^ ''^ ''^" ■ft'T'^-^n the in,; u-as quite siaci., with a 


y^ ''i' 

■"..n-r,ide the port side of the ship. .\t 
'"''■ '>''<■!'' ''ig pressure began, tht 

lialf - jjn ■ 

crashing anc; grinding .(jong the sidp's >ide. Abintt 

midnight tlu> roar of jjacking was heaid to the south. 

"Saturday, November ijtli. There has been some 
pressure- i: ourse of the day. The newly formed ice 

is about \$ mchr> thick. It is hard ,,n t!--.' tor), l,.,. ;,H,ve- 
and p>or<nis bciow. This part)< 
to toi'm upon a large openi;; 
27th aiid :!8th Oct*. . :..,,■; 
days. I ohser\-ed that it f'-M/c ■. ■ ,,■ 


M i 1 i ; 

>v tna* : 
' .^i is 

1 ■ '^ -mah' ob.-er\-aiion her\ 

' ' , ')n most easii 

• iiwjg iuorc and )iiore difficuii, ,,^ tiie thickness 

mcreas'. ,t a ccr!ain thic'kiii -i)served 

later, it stops altogether. " h ■ hat the pre,>*sure 

gone on aim ■ ,'.'•.■■, 

have usuailv observed.'' 







t i 









i% I 

i ( y f 




"Sunday, November 19th. Our life has gone on its 
usual monotonous routine since the nth. The wind 
has been steadily from the south all week, but to-day 
there is a little from N.N.W. We have had pressure 
several times, and have heard sounds of it in the south- 
east. Except for this, the ice has been unusually quiet, 
and it is closed in tightly round the ship. Since the 
last strong pressure we have probably 10 to 20 feet of 
ice packed in below us.* Hansen to-day worked out 
an observation taken the day before yesterday, and sur- 
prised us with the welcome intelligence that we have 
travelled 44' north and a little east since the 8th. We 
are now in 78' 27' north latitude, 139° 23' east longitude. 
This is farther east than we have been yet. For any 
sake, let us only keep on as we are going ! 

" The Fram is a warm, cozy abode. Whether the 
thermometer stands at 22° above zero or at 22° below 
it we have no fire in the stove. The ventilation is ex- 
cellent, especially since we rigged up the air sail, which 
sends a whole winter's cold in through the ventilator; yet 
in spite of this we sit here warm and comfortable, with 
only a lamp burning. I am thinking of having the 
stove removed altogether; it is only in the way. At least, 
as far as our protection from the winter cold is concern- 
ed, my calculations have turned out well. Neither do 
we suffer much from damp. It does collect and drop 

' On a later occasion they bored down 30 feet without reaching the 
lower surface of the ice. 





1^ .^ 

! I 




i ' 



i I 

a little from the roof in one or two places, especially 
astern in the four-man cabins, but nothing in comparison 
with what is common in other ships; and if we lighted 
the stove it would disappear altogether. When I have 
burned a lamp for quite a short time in my cabin every 
trace of damp is gone.* These are extraordinary fellows 
for standing the cold. With the thermometer at 22° be- 
low zero Bentzen goes up in his shirt and trousers to 
read the thermometer on deck. 

" Monday, November 27th. The prevailing wind has 
been southerly, with sometimes a little east. The tem- 
perature still keeps between 13° and 22° below zero; in 
the hold it has fallen to 1 2°." 

It has several times struck me that the streamers 
of the aurora borealis followed in the direction of the 
wind, from the wind's eye on the horizon. On Thurs- 
day morning, when we had very slight northeasterly 
wind, I even ventured to prophesy, from the direction of 
the streamers, that it would go round to the southeast, 
which it accordingly did. On the whole there has been 
much less of the aurora borealis lately than at the be- 
ginning of our drift. Still, though it may have been 
faint, there has been a little every day. To night it is 
very strong again. These last days the moon has some- 

■ I 

* When we had fire in the stoves later, especially during the follow- 
ing winter, tiere was not a sign of damp anywhere — neither in Faloon 
nor smn' cabins. It was, if anything, rather too dry, for the panels of 
the walls and n .t dried and shrank considerably. 

'I , k 



times had rings round it, with mock -moons and axes, 
accompanied by rather strange phenomena. Whun the 
moon stands so low that the ring touches the horizon, 
a bright field of light is formed where the horizon cuts 
the ring. Similar expanses of 'ight are also formed 
where the perpendicular axis from the moon intersects the 
horizon. F"aint rainbows are often to be seen in these 
shining light-fields ; yellow was generally the strongest 
!:int nearest the horizon, passing over into red, and then 
into blue. Similar colors could also be distinguished in 
the mock-moons. Sometimes there are two laro-e rinf^s 
the one outside the other, and then there may be four 
mock-moons. I have also seen part of a new rin<r above 
the usual one, meeting it at a ta..^^ent directly above the 
moon. As is well known, these various ring formations 
round the sun, as well as round the moon, are produced 
by the refraction of rays of light by minute ice crystals 
floatino; in the air. 

" We looked for pressure with full moon and sprincr. 
tide on 23d of November; but then, and for several days 
afterwards, the ice was quite quiet. Or. the afternoon of 
Saturday, the 25th, however, its distant roar was heard 
from the south, and we have heard it from the same 
direction every day since. This morning it was very 
loud, and came gradually nearer. At 9 o'clock it was 
quite close to us, and this evening we hear it near us 
again. It seems, howe<'ci p^, if we had now got ou<: of 
the groove to which the pressure principally confines 

i ^1 




' 1 


itself. We were regularly in it before. The ice round 
us is perfectly quiet. The probability is that the last 
severe pressure packed it very tight about us, and that 
the cold since has frozen it into such a thick, strong 
mass that it offers great resistance, while the weaker ice 
in other places yields to the pressure. The depth of 
the sea is increasing steadily, and we are drifting north. 
This evening Hansen has worked out the observations 
of the day before yesterday, and finds that we are in 
79" 11' north latitude. That is good, and the way we 
ought to get on. It is tb.e most nortinirn point we have 
reached yet, and to-day we are in all likelihood still far- 
tlier north. We have mad-o good way these last days, 
and the increasing depth secnis to incMr:ate a happy- 
change in the direction of our drift. Have we, perhaps, 
really found the right road at last } We are drifting 
about 5' a day. The most satisfactory thing is that 
there has not been much wind lately, especially not the 
last two days ; yesterday it was only i metre per second ; 
to-day is perfectly still, and yet the depth has increased 
21 fathoms (40 m.) in these two days. It seems as if 
there were a northerly current, after all. No doubt many 
disappointments await us yet; but why not rejoice while 
fortune smiles 1 

" Tuesday, November 28th. The disappointment lost 
no time in comintj. There had been a mistake either 
in the observation or in Hansen's calculations. An alti- 
tude of Jupiter taken yesterday evening shows us to be in 


V \ ' L 



^6° 36' north latitude. The soundings to-day showed 74 
fathoms (142 m.) of water, or about the same as yester- 
day, and thesounding-Hne indicated a southwesterly drift. 
However anxious one is 'o take things philosojahicallv, 
one can't help feeling a little depressed. I try to find 
solace in a book; absorb myself in the learning of the 
Indians— their happy faith in transcendental powers, in 
the supernatural faculties of the soul, and in a future life. 
Oh, if one could only get hold of a little supernatural 
power now, and oblige the winds always to blow from the 
south ! 

" I went on deck this evening in rather a gloomy frame 
of mind, but was nailed to the spot the moment I got 
outside. There is the supernatural for you — the northern 
lights flashing in matchless power and beauty over the sky 
in all the colors of the rainbow! Seldom or never have 
I seen the colors so brilliant. The prevailing one at first 
was yellow, but that gradually flickered over into green, 
and then a sparkling ruby-red began to show at the bot- 
tom of the ra3-s on the under side of the arch, soon 
spreading over the whole arch. And now from the far- 
away western horizon a fiery serpent writhed itself up 
over the sky, shining brighter and brighter as it came. 
It split into three, all brilliantly glittering. Then the 
colors changed. The serpent to the south turned almost 
ruby -red, with spots of yellow; the one in the middle, 
yellow; and the one to the north, greenish white. Sheaves 
of rays swept along the side of the serpents, driven 


\ 1 


It y 

\ i 

M (. 




through the ether-like waves before a storm-wind. They 
sway backward and forward, now strong, now fainter 
again. The serpents reached and passed the zenith. 
Though I \Aas thinly dressed and shivering with cold, I 
could not tear myself away till the spectacle was over, 
and only a faintly glowing fiery serpent near the western 
horizon showed where it had begun. When I came on 
deck later the masses of light had passed northward and 
spread themselves in incomplete arches over the northern 
sky. If one wants to read mystic meanings into the phe- 
nomena of nature, nere, surely, is the opportunity. 

" The obse vation this afternoon showed us to be in 
78° 38' 42" nor.^h latitude. This is anything but rapid 
progress. , 

"Wednesday, November 29th. Another dog has 
been bitten to death to-day—' Fox,' a handsome, power- 
ful animal. He was found lying dead and stiff on the ice 
at our stern this evening when they went to brincr the 
dogs in, 'Suggen' performing her usual duty of watchino- 
the body. They are wretches, these dogs. But now I 
have given orders that some one must always watch them 
when they are out on the ice. 

" Thursday, November 30th. The lead showed a 
depth of exactly 83 fathoms (170 m.) to-day, and it seemed 
by the line as if we were drifting northwest. W'e are 
almost certainly farther north now; hopes are risino- 
and life is looking brighter again. My spirits are like 
a pendulum, if one could imagine such an instrument 





giving all sorts of irregular swings backward and for- 
ward. It is no good trying to take the thing philo- 
sophically; I cannot deny that the question whether 
we are to return successful or unsuccessful affects me 
very deeply. It is quite easy to convince myself with 
the most incontrovertible reasoning that what really 
matters is to carry through the expedition, whether 
successfully or not, and get safe home again. I could 
not but undertake it ; for my plan w\as one that I felt 
must succeed, and therefore it was my duty to try it. 
Well, if it does not succeed, is that my affair ? I have 
done my duty, done all that could be done, and can 
return home with an easy conscience to the quiet hap- 
piness I have left behind. What can it matter whether 
chance, or whatever name you like to give it, does or 
does not allow the plan to succeed and make our names 
immortal } The worth of the plan is the same whether 
chance smiles or frowns upon it. And as to immor- 
tality, happiness is all we want, and that is not to be 
had here. 

" I can say all this to myself a thousand times ; I can 
bring myself to believe honestly that it is all a matter 
of indifference to me ; but none the less my spirits 
change like the clouds of heaven according as the wind 
blows from this direction or from that, or the sound- 
ings show the depth to be increasing or not, or the 
observations indicate a northerly or southerly drift. 
When I think of the many that trust us, think of 




-M ' : 

mk \'4 ■ , 

Norway, think of all the friends that 

gave us their tinn 

their faith, and their money, the wish comes that they 
may not be disappointed, and I grow sombre when our 
IM-ogress is not what we expected it would be. And 
she that gave most— does she deserve that her sacrifice 
should have been made in vain? Ah, yes, we must and 
will succeed ! 

" Sunday, December 3d. Sunday again, with its feel- 
ing of peace, and its permission to indulge in the nar- 
cotic of haj^py day-dreams, and let the hours go idly by 
without any prickings of conscience. 

"To-day the bottom was not reached with over 133 
fathoms (250 m.) of line. There was a northeasterly drift. 
Yesterday's observation showed us to be in ']'^' 44' north 
latitude, that is 5' farther north than on Tuesday. It is 
horribly slow; but it is forward, and forward we must 
go ; there can be no question of that. 

" Tuesday, December 5th. This is the coldest day 
we have had yet, with the thermometer 31" below zero 
(-35-7" C.) and a biting wind from the E.S.K. Obser- 
vation in the afternoon shows 78^ 50 north latitude; 
that is 6' farther north than on Saturday, or 2 per day.' 
In the afternoon we had magnificent aurora borealis 
—glittering arches across the whole vault of the sky 
from the east towards west; but when I was on deck 
thii evening the sky was overcast: only one star shone 
through the cloudy veil — the home star. How I love 
It ! It is the first thing my eye seeks, and it is always 




there, shining on our path. I feel as if no ill could be- 
fall us as long as I see it there. 

" Wednesday, December 6th. This afternoon the ice 
cracked abaft the starboard quarter; this evening I see 
that the crack has opened. We may expect pressure 
now, as it is new moon either to-day or to-morrow." 

"Thursday, December 7th. The ice pressed at the 
stern at 5 o'clock tiiis morning for about an hour. I 
lay in my berth and listened to it creaking and grind- 
ing and roaring. There was slight pressure again in 
the afternoon; nothing to speak of. No slackening in 
the forenoon. 

"Friday, December 8th. Pressure from seven till 
eight this morning. As I was sitting drawing in the 
afternoon I was startled by a sudden report or cra.h. It 
seemed to be straight overhead, as if great masses of ice 
had fallen from the rigging on to the deck above my 
cabin. Ever)- one starts up and throws on some extra 
garmont; those that are taking an afternoon nap jump 
out of their berths right into the middle of the saloon, 
calling out to know what has happened. Pettersen 
rushes up the companion-ladder in such wild haste that 
he bursts open the door in the face of the mate, who is 
standing in the passage holding back ' Kvik,' who has 
also started in fright from the bed in the chart -room, 
where she is expecting her confinement. On deck we 
could discover nothing, except that the ice was in mo- 
tion, and seemed to be sinking slowly away from the 










U ill.6 

nl I l-:_ 




WEBSTER, NY. 14580 

(716) 372-4503 





















■I ' \ 



ship. Great piles had been packed up under the stern 
this morning and yesterday. The explosion was proba- 
bly caused by a violent pressure suddenly loosening all 
the ice along the ship's side, the ship at the same time 
taking a strong list to port. There was no cracking of 
wood to be heard, so that, whatever it was, the Fram 
cannot have been injured. But it was cold, and we crept 
down again. 

"As we were sitting at supper about 6 o'clock, 
pressure suddenly began. The ice creaked and roared 
so along the ship's sides close by us that it was not 
possible to carry on any connected conversation, we 
had to scream, and all agreed with Nordahl when he re- 
marked that it would be much pleasanter if the pressure 
would confine its operations to the bow instead of coming 
bothering us here aft. Amidst the noise we caught every 
now and again from the organ a note or two of Kjerulf's 
melody—' I could not sleep for the nightingale's voice.' 
The hurly-burly outside lasted for about twenty minutes, 
and then all was still. 

"Later in the evening Hansen came down to give 
notice of what really was a remarkable appeal ance of 
aurora borealis. The deck was brightly illuminated by 
it, and reflections of its light played all over the ice. The 
whole sky was ablaze with it, but it was brightest in the 
south ; high up in that direction glowed waving masses 
of fire. Later still Hansen came again to say that now 
It was quite extraordinary. No words can depict the 



121; i 




































glory that met our eyes. The glowing fire-masses had 
divided into glistening, many-colored bands, which were 
writhing and twisting across the sky both in the south 
and north. The rays sparkled with the purest, most 
crystalline rainbow colors, chiefly violet-red or carmine 
and the clearest green. Most frequently the rays of the 
arch were red at the ends, and changed higher up into 
sparkling green, which quite at the top turned darker and 
went over into blue or violet before disappearing in the 
blue of the sky ; or the rays in one and the same arch 
might change from clear red to clear green, coming and 
going as if driven by a storm. It was an endless phan- 
tasmagoria of sparkling color, surpassing anything that 
one can dream. Sometimes tho spectacle reached such 
a climax that one's breath was taken away ; one felt that 
now something extraordinary must happen — at the very 
least the sky mi^st fall. But as one stands in breathless 
expectation, down the whole thing trips, as if in a few 
quick, light scale-runs, into bare nothingness. There is 
something most undramatic about such a denonemeui, 
but it is all done with such confident assurance that one 
cannot take it amiss ; one feels one's self in the presence 
of a master who has the complete command of his instru- 
ment. With a single stroke of the bow he descends 
lightly and elegantly from the height of passion into 
quiet, every-day strains, only with a few more strokes to 
work himself up into passion again. It seems as if he 
were trying to mock, to tease us. When we are on 




U \ 


the point of going below, driven by 6i degrees of frost 
( — 34.7 C), such magnificent tones again vibrate over the 
strings that we stay until noses and ears are frozen. For 
a finale, there is a wild display of fireworks in every tint 
of flame — such a conflagration that one expects every 
minute to have it down on the ice, because there is not 
room for it in the sky. But I can hold out no longer. 
Thinly dressed, without a proper cap and without gloves, 
I have no feeling left in body or limbs, and I crawl away 

" Sunday, December loth. Another peaceful Sunday. 
The motto for the day in the English almanac is: 'He 
is happy whose circumstances suit his temper: but he 
is more excellent who can suit his temper to any cir- 
cumstances ' (Hume). Very true, and exactly the phi- 
losophy I am practising at this moment. I am lying 
on my berth in the light of the electric lamp, eating 
cake and drinking beer while I am writing my journal; 
presently I shall take a book and settle down to read 
and sleep. The arc lamp has shone like a sun to-day 
over a happy company. We have no difficulty now in 
distinguishing hearts from diamonds on our dirty cards. 
It ie wonderful what an effect light has. I believe I am 
becoming a fire-worshipper. It is strange enough that 
fire-worship should not exist in the Arctic countries. 

For the sons of men 

Fire is the best, 

And the sight of the sun.' 



" A newspaper appears on board now. Framsjaa* 
(news of, or outlook from, the Fram) is its name, and our 
doctor is its irresponsible editor. The first number was 
read aloud this evening, and gave occasion for much 
merriment. Among its contents are : 


(Contribution to the Infant Framsjaa) 

Far in the ice there lies a ship, boys, 
Mast and sail ice to the very tip, boys ; 
But, perfectly clear, 
If you listen you can hear, 
There is life and fun on board that ship, boys. 
What can it be ? 
Conic along and see- 
It is Nansen and his men that laugh, boys. 


Nothing to be heard at night but glasses' clink, boys, 

Fall of greasy cards and counters' chink, boys ; 

If he won't "declare," 

Nordahl he will swear 

Bentzen is stupid as an owl, boys. 

Bentzen cool, boys. 

Is not a fool, boys ; 

"You're another!" quickly he replies, boys. 

Among those sitting at the table, boys, 
Is"Heika,"t with iiis body big and stable, boys; 
He and Lars, so keen. 
It would almost seem 



♦ Apparently modelled on the title of the well - known magazine, 
Kringsjaa, which means " A Look Around " or " Survey." Framsjaa 
might be translated " The Frain's Lookout." 

t The name Peter Henriksen generally went by on board. 




\ '• 

! i* 


They would stake their lives if they were able, boys. 

Amundsen, again. 

Looks at these two men, 

Shakes his head and sadly goes to bed, boys.* 


[From a J'/iotogra/i/i) 

Sverdrup, Blessing, Hansen, and our Mohn.t boys. 

Say of "marriage," "This game is our own," boys; 

Soon for them, alas ! 

The happy hour is past; 

And Hansen he says, " Come away, old Mohn !" boys. 

" It is getting late. 

And the stars won't wait, 

You and I must up and out alone," boys. 

* Refers to the fact that Amundsen hated card-playing more than any- 
thing else in the world. He called cards " the devil's playbooks." 

t Nickname of our meteorologist, Johansen, Professor Mohn being a 
uistinguished Norwegian meteorologist. 



The doctor here on board has nought to do, boys; 

Not a man to test his skill among the crew, boys; 

Well may he look blue. 

There's nought for him to do, 

When every man is strong and hearty, too, boys. 

" Now on the Fratn" boys, 

He says " I am," boys, 

"Chief editor of newspaper for you ! " boys. 

"'Warning! ! ! 

'"I think it is my duty to warn the public that a 
travelling watchmaker has been making the round of 
this neighborhood lately, getting watches to repair, and 
not returning them to their owners. How long is this 
to be allowed to go on under the eyes of the authorities.? 

" ' The watchmaker's appearance is as follows : Middle 
height, fair, gray eyes, brown full beard, round shoulders, 
and generally delicate-looking. 

"'A. JUELL.* 

'"The person above notified was in our ofifice yester- 
day, asking for work, and we consider it right to add the 
following particulars as completing the description. He 
generally goes about with a pack of mongrel curs at his 
heels; he chews tobacco, and of this his beard shows 
traces. This is all we have to say, as we did not consider 
ourselves either entitled or called upon to put him under 
the microscope. 

"'Ed. Framsjaa' 

* This signature proved to be forged, and gave rise to a lawsuit so 
long and intricate that space does not permit an account of it to be given. 




» v,s 

"Yesterday's observation placed us in 79° o' north 
latitude, 139° 14' east longitude. At last, then, we have 
got as far north again as we were in the end of Septem- 
ber, and now the northerly drift seems to be steady : 10 
minutes in 4 days. 

"Monday, December nth. This morning I took a 
long excursion to westward. It is hard work struggling 
over the packed ice in the dark, something like scram- 
bling about a moraine of big boulders at night. Once I 
took a step in the air, fell forward, and bruised my right 
knee. It is mild to-day, only 9.V' below zero (—23° C). 
This evening there was a strange appearance of aurora 
borealis — white, shining clouds, which I thought at first 
must be lit up by the moon, but there is no moon yet. 
They were light cumuli, or cirro-cumuli, shifting into a 
b'ightly shining mackerel sky. I stood and watched 
them as long as my thin clothing permitted, but there 
was no perceptible pulsation, no play of flame; they 
sailed quietly on. The light seemed to be strongest in 
the southeast, where there were also dark clouds to be 
seen. Hansen said that it moved over later into the 
northern sky; clouds came and went, and for a time 
there were many white shining ones — 'white as lambs,' 
he called them — but no aurora played behind them. 

" In this day's meteorological journal I find noted for 
4 P.M. : ' Faint aurora borealis in the north. Some dis- 
tinct branchings or antlers (they are of ribbon crimped 
like blond) in some diffused patches on the horizon in 




the N.N.K; In his aurora borcaHs journal Hansen de- 
scribes that of this evening as foHovvs: 'About S i-.m. an 
aurora borealis arch of light was observed, stretching 
from E.S.E. to N.VV., through the zenith; diffused quiet 
intensity 3-4 most intense in N.W. The arch spread at 
the zenith by a \va\e to the south. At 10 o'clock there 
was a fainter aurora borealis in the southern sky; eight 
minutes later it extended to the zenith, and two minutes 
after this there was a shining broad arch across the 
zenith with intensity 6. Twelve seconds later flaming 
rays shot from the zenith in an easterly direction. Dur- 
ing the next half-hour there was constant aurora, chiefly 
in bands across or near the zenith, or lower in the south- 
ern sky. The observation ended about 10.38. The in- 
tensity was then 2, the aurora diffused over the southern 
sky. There were cumulus clouds of varying closeness 
all the time. They came up in the southeast at the be- 
ginning of the obrervation, and disappeared towards the 
end of it; they were closest about 10 minutes past 10. 
At the time that the broad shining arch throuirh the 
zenith was at its highest intensity the cumulus clouds 
in the northwest shone quite white, though we were un- 
able to detect any aurora borealis phenomena in this 
quarter. The reflection of light on the ice-field was 
pretty strong at the same time. In the aurora borealis 
the cumulus clouds appeared of a darker color, almost 
the gray of wool. The colors of the aurora were yellow- 
ish, bluish white, milky blue — cold coloring.' According 

i 3;. 





I f 

to the meteorological journal there was still aurora bore- 
alis in the southern sky at midnight. 

"Tuesday, December 12th. Had a long walk south- 
east this morning. The ice is in much the same con- 
dition there as it is to the west, packed or pressed up 
into mounds, with flat floes between. This evening the 
dogs suddenly began to make a great commotion on 
deck. We were all deep in cards, some playing whist, 
others 'marriage.' I had no shoes on, so said that 
some one else must go up and see what was the mat- 
ter. Mogstad went. The noise grew worse and worse. 
Presently Mogstad came down and said that all the dogs 
that could get at the rail were up on it, barking out 
into the dark tc)\vards the north. He was sure there 
must be an animal of some sort there, but perhaps it 
was only a fox, for he thought he had heard the bark 
of a fox far in the north; but he was not sure. Well, 
— it must be a devil of a fox to excite the doos like 
that. As the disturbance continued, I at last went up 
myself, followed by Johansen. I^-om different positions 
we looked long and hard into the darkness in the 
direction in which the dogs were barking, but we 
could see nothing moving. That something must be 
there was quite certain ; and I had no doubt that it 
was a bear, for the dogs were almost beside themselves. 
' Pan ' looked up into my face with an odd expression, 
as if he had something important to tell me, and then 
jumped up on the rail and barked away to the north. 




The clogs' excitement was quite remarkable; they had 
not been so keen when the bear was close in to the 
side of the ship. However, I contented myself with re- 
marking that the thing to do would be to loose some 
dogs and go north with them over the ice. But these 
wretched dogs won't tackle a bear, and besides it is so 
dark that there is hardly a chance of finding anything. 
If it is a bear he will come again. At this season, when 
he is so hungry, he will hardly go right away from all the 
good food for him here on board. I struck about with 
my arms to get a little heat into me, then went below 
and to bed. The dogs went on barking, sometimes 
louder than before. Nordahl, whose watch it was, went 
up several times, but could discover no reason for it. 
As I was lying reading in my berth I heard a peculiar 
sound; it was like boxes being dragged about on deck, 
and there was also scrajjing, like a dog that wanted to 
get out, scratching violently at a door. I thoucrht of 
' Kvik,' who was shut up in the chart-room. I called 
into the saloon to Nordahl that he had better go up 
again and see what this new noise was. He did so, but 
came back saying that there was still nothing to be seen. 
It was difficult to sleep, and I lay long tossing about. 
Peter came on watch. I told him to go up and turn the 
air-sail to the wind, to make the ventilation better. He 
was a good time on deck doing this and other things, 
but he also could see no reason for the to-do the dof^s 
were still making. He had to go forward, and then 







noticed that the three doj^s nearest the starboard cans- 
way were missing. He came down and told me, and 
we agreed that possibly this might be what all the ex- 
citement was about; but never before had they taken it 
so to heart when some of their number had run away. 
At last I fell asleep, but heard them in my sleep for a 
long time. 

"Wednesday, December 13th. Before I was rightly 
awake this morning I heard the dogs ' at it ' still, and 
the noise went on all the time of breakfast, and had, I 
believe, gone on all night. After breakfast Mogstad 
and Peter went up to feed the wretched creatures and 
let them loose on the ice. Three were still missins:. 
Peter came down to get a lantern ; he thought he might 
as well look if there were any tracks of animals. Jacob- 
sen called after him that he had better talce a sun. No. 
he did not need one, he said, A litt!- later, as I was sit- 
ting sorrowfully absorbed in the calculation of how much 
petroleum we had used, and now short a time our sup- 
ply would last if we went on burning it at the same rate, 
I heard a scream at the top of the companioi . 'Come 
with a gun !' In a moment I was in the saloon, and 
there was Peter tumbling in at the door, breathlessly 
shouting, ' A gun ! a gun !' The bear had bitten him 
in the side. I was thankful that it was no worse. 
Hearing him put on so much dialect,* I had thought 

* He says " ei borsja " for " ^- gun " instead of " en bosse.' 

'» f 


h % 


Pi, '- * 

notired that the three dosvs nearest the starboard <Tan{r- 
were missing. lie came down and told nit-, and 
wc ayjrecd that ]>()ssibly this ndu,ht h<- . H jlw e\- 

citemcrit w ^ , a!.)0! ' : '■')[ i'('\.t bcfoM' : , :> ■!. 

So to licart when ; Ji>.ir ni;n,:-. : \. 

\\ ;.i>t 1 feil aslv'c|). Iju! neard tlieni in ii;v ,-ieep for .i 
iunu' time. 

";! ' '' ember i ^th. Hefore f was riehtlv 
awaio: ■ nuriiiuig I V : die dogs 'at it' siilh and 
cnl on all the time of breakfast, and !iad, I 
behe\t', gone on- all night. After breakfast Mos-.stad 
and Peter went up to teen n-etched creatures ami 

let th'.'in loose die ice. Tliree were still niissin"- 

1 . dov>n ; . ■ a lantern: he thought he might 

as Awll look it there were anv ^ ^ ; mimal-^. iaolv 

illed after iuni that lie Im.! i>t:-r\- [■'• 
he did not need one, he said, ' / ■ i 

ting sorrowfiill'/ -t:-.-.-]^---d in i\r- 

petr(deu!n ; . Ii.ia usuo, and how .-.iHMa .■ r r^up- 

j>iy would la.>t jf we went on burning it at tht same rate, 
1 heard a scream at the top of the companion. • C^^me 
with a gun I' in a moment f \v,i> in the saloon, and 
there was Pet. t i;i'ni)'i' : eathlesslv 

shontinu. Jhe bear had bitten him 

ill dv i was thankful tl worse. 

Hearing hi.i ic!i dialeei,' ! had thout/ht 




























% Vv; 









W : : 

! ! 



it was a matter of life and death. I seized one sun, 
he another, and up we rushed, the mate with his gun 
after us. There was not much difficulty in knowing 
in what direction to turn, for from the rail on the 
starboard side came confused shouts of human voices, 
and from the ice below the gangway the sound of a 
frightful uproar of dogs. I tore out the tow-plug at the 
muzzle of my rifle, then up with the lever and in with a 
cartridge ; it was a case of hurry. But, hang it ! there is 
a plug in at this end too. I poked and poked, but could 
not get a grip of it. Peter screamed : ' Shoot, shoot ! 
Mine won't go off! He stood clicking and clicking, his 
lock full of frozen vaseline again, while the bear lay chew- 
ing at a dog just below us at the ship's side. Beside me 
stood the mate, groping after a tow-plug which he also 
had shoved down into his gun, but now he fluns; the sun 
angrily away and began to look round the deck for a 
walrus spear to stick the bear with. Our fourth man, 
Mogstad, was waving an empty rifle (he had shot away 
his cartridges), and shouting to some one to shoot the 
bear. Four men, and not one that could shoot, although 
we could have prodded the bear's back with our gun- 
barrels. Hansen, making a fifth, was lying in the pas- 
sage to the chart-room, groping with his arm through 
a chink in the door for cartridges ; he could not get the 
door open because of ' Kvik's ' kennel. At last Johan- 
sen appeared and sent a ball straight down into the 
bear's hide. That did some good. The monster let so 




1 1 


the dog and gave a growl. Another shot flashed and 
hissed down on the same spot. One more, and we saw 
the white dog the bear had under him jump up and run 
off, while the other dogs stood round, barking. Another 
shot still, for the animal began to stir a little. At this 
moment x\\yj plug came out, and I gave him a last ball 
through the head to make sure. The dogs had crowd- 
ed round barking as long as he moved, but now that 
he lay still in death they drew back terrified. They 
probably thought it was some new ruse of the enemy. 
It was a little thin one-year-old bear that had caused all 
this terrible commotion. 

" While it was being flayed I went off in a north- 
westerly direction to look for the dogs that were still 
missing. I had not gone far when I noticed that the 
dogs that were following me had caught scent of some- 
thing to the north and wanted to go that way. Soon 
they got frightened, and I could not get them to go on ; 
they kept close in to my side or slunk behind me. I 
held my gun ready, while I crawled on all-fours over the 
pack-ice, which was anything but level. I kept a steady 
lookout ahead, but it was not far my eyes could pierce in 
that darkness. I could only just see the dogs, like black 
shadows, when they were a few steps away from me. I 
expected every moment to see a huge form rise among 
the hummocks ahead, or come rushing towards me. The 
dogs got more and more cautious; one or two of them 
sat down, but they probably felt that it would be a shame 

ill' ^ 



to let me go on alone, so followed slowly after. Terrible 
ice to force one's way over. Crawling along on hands 
and knees does not put one in a very convenient posi- 
tion to shoot from if the bear should make a sudden 
rush. But unless he did this, or attacked the dogs, I 
had no hope of getting him. We now came out on 
some flat ice. It was only too evident that there must 
be something quite near now. I went on, and presently 
saw a dark object on the ice in front of me. It was not 
unlike an animal. I bent down— it was poor ' Johan- 
sen's Friend,' the black dog with the white tip to his tail, 
in a sad state, and frozen stiff. Beside him was some- 
thing else dark. I bent down again and found the sec- 
ond of the missing dogs, brother of the corpse-watcher 
'Suggen.' This one was almost whole, only eaten a 
little about the head, and it was not frozen quite stiff. 
There seemed to be blood all round on the ice. I 
looked about in every direction, but there was nothing 
more to be seen. The dogs stood at a respecLful dis- 
tance, staring and sniffing in the direction of their dead 
comrades. Some of us went, not long after this, to fetch 
the dogs' carcasses, taking a lantern to look for bear 
tracks, in case there had been some big fellows alono- 
with the little one. We scrambled on among the pack- 
ice. 'Come this way with the lantern, Bentzen ; I 
think I see tracks here.' Bentzen came, and we turned 
the light on some indentations in the snow; they were 
bear- paw marks, sure enough, but only the same little 

^W f 

\ f 


Hi t' ^ 


■■■lait . 

; ! 

^H \^ 

f 1 



fellow's. 'Look! the brute has been dragging a clog 
after him here.' By the light of the lantern we traced 
the blood-marked path on among the hummocks. We 
found the dead dogs, but no footprints except small ones, 
which we all thought must be those of our little bear. 
' Svarten; alias ' Johansen's Friend,' looked bad in the 
lantern-light. Flesh and skin and entrails were gone; 
there was nothing to be seen but a bare breast and back- 
bone, with some stumps of ribs. It was a pity that the 
fine strong dog should come to such an end. He had 
just one fault : he was rather bad-tempered. He had a 
special dislike to Johansen; barked and showed his 
teeth whenever he came on deck or even opened a door, 
and when he sat whistling in the top or in the crow's- 
nest these dark winter days the ' Friend ' would answer 
with a howl of rage from far out on the ice. Johansen 
bent down with the lantern to look at the remains. 

'"Are you glad, Johansen, that your enemy is done 

" ' No, I am sorry.' 

Because we did not make it up before he died.' 
"And we went on to look for more bear- tracks, but 

found none; so we took the dead dogs on our backs and 

turned homeward. 

" On the way I asked Peter what had really happened 

with him and the bear. ' Well, you see,' said he, ' when 

I came along with the lantern we saw a few drops of 

* ) 



blood by the gangway; but that might quite well have 
been a dog that had cut itself. On the ice below the 
gangway we saw some bear-tracks, and we started away 
west, the whole pack of dogs with us, running on far 
ahead. When we had got away a bit from the ship, 
there was suddenly an awful row in front, and it wasn't 
long before a great beast came rushing at us, with the 
whole troop of dogs around it. As soon as we saw what 
it was, we turned and ran our best for the shiij. INIoo-- 
stad, you see, had moccasins (komager) on, and knew his 
way bettor and got there before me. I couldn't o-et 
along so fast with my great wooden shoes, and in my 
confusion I got right on to the big hummock to the west 
of the ship's bow, you know. I turned here and lighted 
back to see if the bear was behind me, but I saw nothing 
and pushed on again, and in a minute these slippery 
wooden shoes had me flat on my back among the hum- 
mocks. I was up again quick enough ; but when I got 
down on to the flat ice close to the ship I saw something 
coming straight for me on the right-hand side. First I 
thought it was a dog — it's not so easy to see in the dark, 
you know. I had no time for a second thought, for the 
beast jumped on me and bit me in the side. I had lifted 
my arm like this, you see, and so he caught me here, 
right on the hip. He growled and hissed as he bit.' 
'"What did you think then, Peter.?" 
"'What did I think? I thought it was all up with 
me. What was I to do? I had neither gun nor knife. 

tn. 1 




But I took the lantern and gave liini such a whack on 
the head with it that the thiut; broke, and went Hying 
away over the ice. The moment he felt the blow he sat 
down and looked at me. I was just taking to my heels 

f'l i 


(Drawn by //. Egidiiis) 

when he got up; I don't know whether it was to grip me 
again or what it was for, but anyhow at that minute he 
caught sight of a dog coming and set off after it, and I 
got on board.' 

" ' Did you scream, Peter.?' 

■ Vt('^*4* i'^,^*'-ClV>--^^ 



"'Scream! I screamed with all my might.' 
" And apparently this was true, for he was qm'te hoarse. 
" ' Hut where was Mogstad all this time ?' 
" ' Well, you see, he had reached the ship long be- 
fore me, but he never thought of running down'' and 
giving the alarm, but takes hi. gun from the round- 
house wall and thinks he'll manage all right alone; but 
his ^r^vxn wouldn't go off, and the bear would have had 
time to eat me up before his nose.' 

" We were now near the ship, and Mogstad, who had 
heard the last part of the story from the deck, cor- 
rected it in so far that he had just reached the gang- 
way when Peter began to roar. He jumped up and fdl 
back three times before he got on board, and had no 
time to do anything then but seize his gun and go to 
Peter's assistance. 

"When the bear left Peter and rushed after the 
dogs he soon had the whole pack about him again. 
Now he would make a spring and get one below him; 
but then all the rest would set upon him and jump 
on his back, so that he had to turn to defend him- 
self. Then he would spring upon another dog, and 
the whole pack would be on him again. And so the 
dance went on, backward and forward over the ice, 
until they were once more close to the ship. A dog 
stood there, below the gangway, wanting to get on 
board ; the bear made a spring on it, and it was there, 
by the ship's side, that the villain met his fate. 

t. ? -^ 1 



< •, 

» ; 

f*' -i 

" An examination f)n board showed that the hook of 
'Svarten's' leash was pulled out quite straight; '(iani- 
nielen's' was broken through; but the third dog's was 
only wrenehed a little; it hardly looked as if the bear 
had done it. I had a slight hope that this dotr niiirht 
still be in life, but, though we searched well, we eould 
not find it. 

" It was altogether a deplorable story. To think that 
we should have let a bear scramble on board like this, 
and should have lost three dogs at once ! Our dogs are 
dwindling down; we have only 26 now. That was a 
wily demon of a bear, to be such a little one. He had 
crawled on board by the gangway, shoved away a box 
that was standing in front of it, taken the dog that stood 
nearest, and gone off with it. When he had satisfied the 
first pangs of his hunger, he had come back and fetched 
No. 2, and, if he had been allowed, he would have con- 
tinued the performance until the deck was cleared of 
dogs. Then he would probably have come bumping 
down-stairs 'and beckoned with cold hand' in at the o-al- 
ley door to Juell. It must have been a pleasant feeling 
for ' Svarten ' to stand there in the dark and see the bear 
come creeping in upon him. 

" When I went below after this bear affair, Juell said 
as I passed the galley door, 'You'll see that " Kv^k ' will 
have her pups to-day; for it's always the way heie on 
board, that things happen together.' And, sure enough, 
when vve were sitting in the saloon in the evening, Moo-- 

'^^•'^-t. '.%• - ' n nil n jiMfcM I ■ II I ■ II 

^'to'ii^ik h.^^" 



stad. who generally |)lays ' master of the hounds,' came 
and announced the arrival t)f the first. Soon there was 
another, and then one more. This news was a little 
balsam to our wounds. ' Kvik ' has j;ot a j^ood warm 
box, lined with fur, up in the passage on the starboard ; it 
is so warm there that she is lying sweating, and we hope 
that the young ones will live, in spite of 54 degrees of 
frost. It seems this evening as if every one had some 
hesitation in going out on the ice unarmed. Our bayonet- 
knives have been brought out, and I am providing myself 
with one. I must say that I felt quite certain that we 
should find no bears as far north as this in the middle of 
winter; and it never occurred to me, in makinc Vm^r ex- 
cursions on the ice without so much as a penknife in my 
pocket, that I was liable to encounters with them. But, 
after Peter's experience, it seems as if it might be as well 
to have, at any rate, a lantern to hit them with. The 
long bayonet-knife shall accompany me henceforth. 

" They often chaffed Peter afterwards about havincr 
screamed so horribly when the bear seized him. ' H'm! 
I wonder,' said he, 'if there aren't others that would 
have screeched just as loud. I had to yell after the 
fellows that were so afraid of frightening the bear that 
when they ran they covered seven yards at each stride.' 

"Thursday, December 14th. 'Well, iMogstad, how 
many pups have you now.?' I asked at breakfast. 
' There are five now.' But soon after he came down to 
tell me that there were at least twelve. Gracious ! that 




r ■A>».*«4^*f^. ■•»*»■• -^ 



is good value for what we have lost. But we were 
almost as pleased wh(^n Johansen came down and said 
that he heard the missing dog howling on the ice far 
away to the northwest. Several of us went up to listen, 
and we could all hear him quite well ; but it sounded 
as if hv. were sitting still, howling in despair. Perhaps 
he was at an opening in the ice that he could not get 
across. Blessing had also heard him duiina: his ni»ht- 
watch, but then the sound had come more from a south- 
westerly direction. When Peter went after breakfast to 
feed the dogs, there was the lost one, standing below 
the gangway wanting to get on board. Hungry he was 
— he dashed straight into the food-dish — but otherwise 
hale and hearty. ' 

" This evening Peter came and said that he was cer- 
tain he had heard a bear moving about and pawing the 
ice; he and Pettersen had stood and listened to him 
scraping at the snow crust. I put on my ' pcsk ' (a fur 
blouse), got liold of my double-barrelled rifle, and went 
on deck. The whole crew were collected aft, gazing out 
into the night. We let loose 'Ulenka' and 'Pan,' and 
went in the direction where the bear was said to be. It 
Vv^as pitch-dark, but the clogs would find the tracks if 
there was anything there. Hansen thought he had seen 
something moving about the hummock near the ship, 
but we found and heard nothing, and, as several of the 
others had by this time come out on the ice and could 
also discover nothing, we scrambled on board again. It 



is extraordinary all the sounds that one can fancy one 
hears out on that great, still space, mysteriously lighted 
by the twinkling stars. 

"Friday, December 15th. This morning Peter saw 
a fox on the ice astern, and he saw it again later, when 
he was out with the dogs. There is something remark- 
able about this appearance of bears and foxes now, after 
our seeing no life for so long. The last time we saw a 
fox we were far south of this, possibly near Sannikoff 
Land. Can we have come into the neighborhood of 
land again .'' 

" I inspected ' Kvik's' pups in the afternoon. There 
were thirteen, a curious coincidence — thirteen pups on 
December 13th, for thirteen men. Five were killed; 
' Kvik ' can manage eight, but more would be bad for 
her. Poor mother ! she was very anxious about her 
young ones — wanted to jump up into the box beside 
them and take them from us. And you can see that 
she is very proud of them. 

" Peter came this evening and said that there must be a 
ghost on the ice, for he heard exactly the same sounds of 
walking and pawing as yesterday evening. This seems 
to be a populous region, after all. 

"According to an observation taken on Tuesday we 
must be pretty nearly in 79° 8' north latitude. That 
was 8 minutes' drift in the three days from Saturday; we 
are getting on better and better. 

" Why will it not snow ? Christmas is near, and what 









is Christmas without snow, thickly falling snow ? We 
have not had one snowfall all the time we have been 
drifting. The hard grains that come down now and 
again are nothing. Oh the beautiful white snow, falling 
so gently and silently, softening every hard outline with 
its sheltering purity ! There is nothing more deliciously 
restful, soft, and white. This snowless ice-plain is like 

. I''r':''^% 


{By H. Egidius,from a Photograph) 

a life without love—nothing to soften it. The marks of 
all the battles and pressures of the ice stand forth just 
as when they were made, rugged and difficult to move 




among. Love is life's snow. It falls deepest and softest 
into the gashes left by the fight— whiter and purer than 
snow itself. What is life without love .? It is like this 
ice— a cold, bare, rugged mass, the wind driving it and 
rending it and then forcing it together again, nothing to 
cover over the open rifts, nothing to break the violence 
of the collisions, nothing to round away the sharp cor- 
ners of the broken floes— nothing, nothing but bare, rug- 
ged drift-ice. 

"Saturday, December i6th. In the afternoon Peter 
came quietly into the saloon, and said that he heard all 
sorts of noises on the ice. There was a sound to the 
north exactly like that of ice packing against land, and 
then suddenly there was such a roar through the air that 
the dogs started up and barked. Poor Peter! They 
laugh at him when he comes down to give an account of 
his many observations; but there is not one amonc; us as 
sharp as he is. 

"Wednesday, December 20th. As I was sittino- at 
breakfast, Peter came roaring that he believed he had 
seen a bear on the ice, ' and that " Pan " set off the 
moment he was loosed.' I rushed on to the ice with my 
gun. Several men were to be seen in the moonh'crht, but 
no bear. It was long before ' Pan ' came back ; he had 
followed him far to the northwest. 

"Sverdrup and 'Smith Lars' in partnership have made 
a great bear-trap, which, was put out on the ice to-day. 
As I was afraid of more dogs than bears being caught in 






f M 

\i: ! 

i • 

1^ i*> 

it, it was hung from a gallows, too high for the dogs to 
jump up to the piece of blubber which hangs as bait 
right in the mouth of the trap. All the clogs spend the 
evening now sitting on the rail barking at this new man 
they see out there on the ice in the moonlioht. 

" Thursday, December 21st. It is extraordinary, after 
all, how the time passes. Here we are at the shortest 
day, though we ha\'e no day. But now we are movino- 
on to light and summer again. We tried to sound to- 
day; had out 2100 metres (over 1 100 fathoms) of line 
without reaching the bottom. We have no more line; 
what is to be done .?• Who could have guessed that we 
should find such deep water } There has been an arch 
of light in the sky all day, opposite the moon; so it is a 
lunar rainbow, but without color, so far as I have been 
able to see. 

" Friday, December 2 2d. A bear was shot last night. 

Jacobsen saw it first, during his watch. He shot at it. 

It made off; and he then went down and told about 

it in the cabin. Mogstad and Peter came on deck; 

Sverdrup was called, too, and came up a little later. 

They saw the bear on his way towards the ship again ; 

but he suddenly caught sight of the gallows with the trap 

on the ice to the west, and went off there. He looked 

well at the apparatus, then raised himself cautiously on 

his liind-legs, and laid his right paw on the cross-beam 

just beside the trap, stared for a little, hesitating, at 

the delicious morsel, but did not at all like the ugly jaws 







round it. Sverdrup was by this time out at the deck- 
house, watching in the sparkling moonshine. His heart 
was jumping — he expected every moment to hear the 
snap of his trap. But the bear shook his head suspi- 


(Orawn by //. EsUliiis) 

ciously, lowered himself cautiously on to all-fours acrain 
and sniffed carefully at the wire that the trap was fast- 
ened by, following it along to where it was made fast 
to a great block of ice. He went round this, and saw 







J fi 


how cleverly it was all arranged, then slowly followed the 
wire back, raised himself up as before, with his paw on 
the beam of the gallows, had a long look at the trap, 
and shook his head again, probably saying to himself, 
' These wily fellows have planned this very cleverly for 
me.' Now he resumed his march to the ship. When 
he was within 60 paces of the bow Peter f^red. The 
bear fell, but jumped up and again made off. Jacobsen, 
Sverdrup, and Mogstad all fired now, and he fell among 
some hummocks. He was flayed at once, and in the 
skin there was only the hole of one ball, which had gone 
through him from behind the shoulder-blade. Peter, 
Jacobsen, and Mogstad all claimed this ball. Sverdrup 
gave up his claim, as he had stood so far astern. 
Mogstad, seeing the bear fall directly after his shot, 
called out, 'I gave him that one'; Jacobsen swears that 
it was he that hit; and Bentzen, who was standino- look- 
ing on, is prepared to take his oath anywhere that it was 
Peter's ball that did the deed. The dispute upon this 
weighty point remained unsettled during the whole course 
of the expedition. 

"Beautiful moonlight. Pressure in several directions. 
To-day we carried our supply of gun-cotton and cannon 
and rifie powder on deck. It is safer there than in the 
hold. In case of fire or other accident, an explosion 
in the hold might blow the ship's sides out and send 
us to the bottom before we had time to turn round. 
Some we put on the forecastle, some on the bridge. 




From these places it would be quickly thrown on to 
the ice. 

"Saturday, December 23d. What we call in Nor- 
way 'Little Christmas -eve.' I went a long way west 
this morning, coming home late. There was packed up 
ice everywhere, with flat floes between. I was turned 
by a newly formed opening in the ice, which I dared 
not cross on the thin layer of fresh ice. In the after- 
noon, as a first Christmas entertainment, we tried an ice- 
blasting with four prisms of gun-cotton. A hole was 
made with one of the large iron drills we had brought 
with us for this purpose, and the charge, with the end of 
the electric connecting wire, was sunk about a foot below 
the surface of the ice. 71ien all retired, the knob was 
touched, there was a dull crash, and water and pieces of 
ice were shot up into the air. Although it was 60 yards 
off, it gave the ship a good jerk that shook everything on 
board, and brought the hoar-frost down from the ricraino- 
The explosion blew a hole through the four-feet-thick ice, 
but its only other effect was to make small cracks round 
this holf". 

"Sunday, December 24th (Christmas-eve), 67 degrees* 
,x cold { — zf C). Glittering moonlight and the end- 
less stillness of the Arctic night. I took a solitary stroll 
over the ice. The first Christmas-eve, and how far away ! 
The observation shows us to be in 79^ 11' north latitude. 
There is no drift. Two minutes farther south than six 
days ago." 

<: m\ 



, 1^ 

{ '- 



There are no further particulars given of this day in 
the diary; but when I think of it, how clearly it all comes 
back to me! There was a peculiar elevation of mood 
on board that was not at all common among us. Every 
man's inmost thoughts were with those at home; but his 
comrades were not to know that, and so there was more 
joking and laughing than usual. All the lamps and lights 
we had on board were lit, and every corner of the saloon 
and cabins was brilliantly illuminated. The bill of fare 
for the day, of course, surpassed any previous one- 
food was the chief thing we had to hold festival with. 
The dinner was a very fine one indeed ; so was the 
supper, and after it i^iles of Christmas cakes came on 
the table; Juell had been busy making them for several 
weeks. After that we enjoyed a glass of toddy and a 
cigar, smoking in the saloon being, of course, allowed. 
The culminating point of the festival came when two 
boxes with Christmas presents were produced. The one 
was from Hansen's mother, the other from his fiancee— 
Miss Fougner. It was touching to see the childlike 
pleasure with which each man received his crift_it mio-ht 
be a pipe or a knife or some little knickknack— he 
felt that it was like a message from home. After this 
there were speeches ; and then the Framsjaa appeared, 
with an illustrated supplement, selections from which 
are given. The drawings are the work of the famous 
Arctic draughtsman, Huttetu. Here are two verses from 
the poem for the day : 


" When tlio ship's path is stopped by fathom-thick ice. 
And winter's white covering is spread. 
When we're quite given up to the power of the stream, 
Oh ! 'tis then that so often of home we must dream. 

" We wish them all joy at this sweet Christmas-tide. 
Health and happiness for the next year, 
Ourselves patience to wait; 'twill bring us to the Pole, 
And home the next spring, never fear!" 




^Ffom the " Framsjua ") 

There were many more poems, among others one 
giving some account of the principal events of the last 
weeks, in this style : 

" Bears are seen, and dogs are born, 

Cakes are baked, both small and large; 

Hcnriksen, he does not fall. 
Spite of bear's most violent charge; 

Mogstad witli his rifle clicks, 

Jacobsen with long lance sticks," 

-£3£;«^j«SK;*,.UK.,.« .*--_-.,: 

1 ■■' 


■ *i 


' ' I' 




and so on. There was a long ditty on the subject of the 
*' Dog Rape on board the Fram : " 

"I^p and down on a night so cold. 
Kvirrc virre vip, bom, bom, 
Walk l)ar[)0()ncr and UcnnL-lman bold, 
Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom ; 


{Front the " Fram^/iia") 

Our kennelman swings, I need hardly tell, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom, 
The long, long lash you know so well, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom; 
Our liarpooner, lie is a man of light, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom, 
A burning lantern he grasjjs tight, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom, 
Tiicy as they walk the time beguile, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom. 
With tales of bears and ail their wile, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom. 

" Now suddenly a bear they see, 
Kvirre virre vip, bom, botn. 
Before whom all tlie dogs do flee, 
Kvirre virre vip, bom, bom ; 


Kcnnelman, like a deer, runs fast, 

Kvirrt- virro vip, bom, bom, 
llarpooiUT slow coinos in tlu' last, 

Kvirre virre vip, bom. bom," 

and s(i on. 

Aniont; the amiounccmcnts are — 

"Instruction in renrinj,'. 

" In consequence of the inflefinitc postponement ol our departure, a 
limited number of pupils can be received for instruction in botli fencu'itr 
and boxinj,'. ° 

" Majakoft, 

"Teacher of Hoxin;,', 

"Next door to the Doctor's.'" 


(From the " Framsjaa ") 

Again — 

" On account of want of storage room, a quantity of old clothes 

are at 








E S 

Iff ^ 



-1 'i: 

present for sale, by private arrangement, at No. 2 Piinip Lane.*' Kepeated 
recjnests to remove them liavint;- l)een of no ell'ect, I am ol)lijr(.(l to 
of them in tliis way. The clotlies are (piite fresli, liavintj been in salt for a 
long time." 

After the reading of the ne\vs])aper came instrumental 
music and singing, and it was far on in the night before 
we sought our berths. 

"Monday, December 25th (Christmas - day). Ther- 
mometer at 36^ Fahr. below zero (-38^ C). I took a walk 
south in the beautiful light of the full moon. At a newly 
made crack I went through the fresh ice with one leo- and 
got soaked; but such an accident matters very little in 
this frost. The water immediately stii'fens into ice; it does 
not make one very cold, and one feels dry again soon. 

" They will be thinking much of us just now at home 
and giving many a pitying sigh over all the hardships 
we are enduring in this cold, cheerless, icy region. Hut 
I am afraid their compassion would cool if they could 
look in upon us, hear the merriment that goes on, and 
see all our comforts and good cheer. They can hardly 
be better off at home. I my.self have certainly never 
lived a more sybaritic life, and have never had more 
reason to fear the consequences it brings in its train. 
Just listen to to-day's dinner menu: 

1. ().\-lail soup ; 

2. Fish-pn(l(lins,^ with potatoes and melted butter; 

3. Roast of reindeer, with pease, French beans, potatoes, 

and craiiberrv jam ; 

* This was the nickname of the starboard four-t)criIi cabin. 



4. Cloudberries witli cream ; 

5. Cake and marchpane (a welcome present from the baker 

to tile expedilioii ; we blessed that man). 

And along with all this that Ringnes bock-becr which 
is so famous in our part of the world. Was this the sort 
of dinner for men who are to be hardened against the 
horrors of the Arctic night ? 

" Every one had eaten so much that supper had to be 
skipped altogether. Later in the evening coffee was 
served, with pineapple i^rcserve, gingerbread, vanilla- 
cakes, cocoanut macaroons, and various other cakes, all 
the work of our excellent cook, Juell; and we ended up 
with figs, almonds, and raisins. 

" Now let us have the breakfast, just to complete the 
day : coffee, freshly baked bread, beautiful Danish butter, 
Christmas cake, Cheddar cheese, clove-cheese, tongue, 
corned-beef, and marmalade. And if any one thinks that 
this is a specially good breakfast because it is Christ- 
mas-da}' he is wrong. It is just what we have always, 
with the addition of the cake, which is not part of the 
every-day diet. 

" Add now to this good cheer our strongly built, safe 
house, our comfortable saloon, lighted up with the large 
petroleum lamp and several smaller ones (when we have 
no electric light), constant gayety, card-playing, and books 
in any quantity, with or without illustrations, good and 
entertaining reading, and then a good, sound sleep — 
what more could one wish .? 






\ \ 

"... But, O Arctic night, thou art Hke a woman, 
a marvellously lovely woman. Thine are the noble, pure 
outlines of antique beauty, with its marble coldness. 
On thy high, smooth brow, clear with the clearness of 
ether, is no trace of compassion for the little sufferings 
of despised humanity; on thy pale, beautiful cheek no 
blush of feeling. Among thy raven locks, waving out 
into space, the hoar-frost has sprinkled its Dlitterino- 
crystals. The proud lines of thy throat, thy shoulders' 
curves, are so noble, but, oh ! unbendingly cold ; thy 
bosom's white chastity is feelingless as the snowy ice. 
Chaste, beautiful, and proud, thou floatest through ether 
over the frozen sea, thy glittering garment, woven of 
aurora beams, covering tl j vault of heaven. But some- 
times I divine a twitch of pain on thy lips, and endless 
sadness dreams in thy dark eye. 

" Oh, how tired I am of thy cold beauty ! I lono- to 
return to life. Let me get home again, as conqueror or 
as beggar; what does that matter,? But let me o-et 
home to begin life anew. The years are passing here, 
and what do they bring,? Nothing but dust, dry dust, 
which the first wind blows away; new dust comes in its 
place, and the next wind takes it too. Truth } Why 
should we always make so much of truth ,? Life is more 
than cold truth, and we live but once. 

" Tuesday, December 26th. 36° Fahr. below zero 
( - 38° C), This (the same as yesterday's) is the greatest 
cold we have had yet. I went a long way north to-day ; 



found a big lane covered with newly frozen ice, with a 
quite open piece of water in the middle. The ice rocked 
up and down under my steps, sending waves out into 
the open pool. It was strange once more to see the 


(From a I'hotogra/tli) 



<• ii 


i ! :) 




K I,. 


! I 






moonlight playing on the coal-black waves, and awak- 
ened a remembrance of well-known scenes. I followed 
this lane far to the north, seemed to see the outlines of 
high land in the hazy light below the moon, and went on 
and on; but in the end it turned out to be a bank of 
clouds behind the moonlit vapor rising from the open 
water. I saw from a high hummock that this opening 
stretched north as far as the eye could reach. 

"The same luxurious living as yesterday; a dinner 
of four courses. Shooting with darts at a target for 
cigarettes has been the great excitement of the day. 
Darts and target are Johansen's Christmas present from 
Miss Fougner. 

"Wednesday, December 27th. Wind began to blow 
this afternoon, 19'. to 26 feet per second; the windmill 
IS going again, and the arc lamp once more brightens 
our lives. Johansen gave notice of 'a shooting- match 
by electric light, with free concert,' for the evening. It 
was a pity for himself that he did, for he and several 
others were shot into bankruptcy and beggary, and had 
to retire one after the other, leaving their cigarettes 
behind them." 

" Thursday, December 28th. A little forward of the 
Fram there is a broad, newly formed open lane, in 
which she could lie crossways. It was covered with last 
night's ice, in which slight pressure began to-day. It is 
strange how indifferent we are to this pressure, which 
was the cause of such great trouble to many earlier 


i ■ i 





I .' li i\ ) 1 



'I .".I M V.I ' ■ 

■"•'- ' 'ii- icir to the nv,ilj) 

Hii^h land in the haxy iiglu below the 

•iiifl on; but in i!k: en.' 

clouds bcliind ihf moonlit vapor : 

water. I saw fro , 

stretched north as far e,, • ould rench. 

"The same hixurioiis living as yt 4,Mrl,, • 
of four com Shooting with dar; .. ,.; ,; 

cigarettes^ hns beon the great excitem< -.i *: 

Miss Fouuncr. 

" Wcdi-oi:,. r ,, , 

i toliowcd 
•utlines >: 


n- ' 

i.'ii^L;i-': lur 


our lucx joiianscn j^d\ 

wa ■ 

othos were sijot into bankruijt. 

behind th^,' n ' 

/■"'vrw thv 

December ^ 


nii^lit - 
straiu . 

ui!u\ in 

.;.-5burc ijcuan io-da\ 

sure, which 





.. t» 

IB ^a 
- to 
I t 






[■■ W .* « ^ m»Mr » W 




1 '■ 


^ 1: 





r 1 



I 1 









Arctic navigators. We have not so much as made the 
smallest preparation for possible accident, no provisions 
on deck, no tent, no clothing in readiness. This may 
seem like recklessness, but in reality there is not the 
slightest prospect of the pressure harming us; we know 
now what the Fram can bear. Proud of our splendid, 
strong ship, we stand on her deck watching the ice come' 
hurtling against her sides, being crushed and broken 
there and having to go down below her, while new ice- 
masses tumble upon her out of the dark, to meet the 
same fate. Here and there, amid deafening noise, some 
great mass rises up and launches itself threateningly 
upon the bulwarks, only to sink down suddenly, drag- 
ged the same way as the others. But at times when 
one hears the roaring of tremendous pressure in the 
night, as a rule so deathly still, one cannot but call to 
mind the disasters that this uncontrollable power has 

" I am reading the story of Kane's expedition just 
now. Unfortunate man, his preparations were misera- 
bly inadequate ; it seems to me to have been a reckless, 
unjustifiable proceeding to set out with such equip- 
ments. Almost all the dogs died of bad food ; all the 
men had scurvy from the same cause, with snow-blind- 
ness, frost-bites, and all kinds of miseries. He learned a 
wholesome awe of the Arctic night, and one can hardly 
wonder at it. He writes on page 173: 'I feel that we 

are fighting the battle of life at disadvantage, and that 




an Arctic day and an Arctic night age a man more 
rapidly and harshly than a year anywhere else in this 
weary world.' In another place he writes that it is 
impossible for civilized men not to suffer in such circum- 
stances. These were sad but by no means unique ex- 
periences. An English Arctic explorer with whom I 
had some conversation also expressed himself very dis- 
couragingly on the subject of life in the polar regions, 
and combated my cheerful faith in the possibility of 
preventing scurvy. He was of opinion that it was 
inevitable, and that no expedition yet had escaped it, 
though some might have given it another name : rather 
a humiliating view to take of the matter, I think. But I 
am fortunately in a position to maintain that it is not 
justified ; and I wonder if they would not both change 
their opinions if they were here. For my own part, 
I can say that the Arctic night has had no afn'ng, 
no weakening, influence of any kind upon me; I ' eem, 
on the contrary, to grow younger. This quiet, regular 
life suits me remarkably well, and I cannot remember a 
time when I was in better bodily health balance than 
I am at present. I differ from these other authorities to 
the extent of feeling inclined to recommend this region 
as an excellent sanatorium in cases of nervousness and 
general breakdown. This is in all sincerity. 

" I am almost ashamed of the life we lead, with none of 
those darkly painted sufferings of the long winter night 
which are indispensable to a properly exciting Arctic 



expedition. We shall have nothing to write about when 
we get home. I may say the same of my comrades as I 
have said for myself; they all look healthy, fat, in good 
condition; none of the traditional pale, hollow faces; 
no low spirits— any one hearing the laughter that goes 
on in the saloon, ' the fall uf greasy cards,' etc. {see 


Juell's poem), would be in no doubt about this. But 
how, indeed, should there be any illness.? With the best 
of food of every kind, as much of it as we want, and 
constant variety, so that even the most fastidious can- 
not tire of it, good shelter, good clothing, good ventila- 
tion, exercise in the open air ad libittim, no over- exer- 
tion in the way of work, instructive and amusing books 


' ij 









of every kind, relaxation in the shape of cards, chess, 
dominoes, hahna, music, and story-telling — how should 
any one be ill ? Every now and then I hear remarks 
expressive of perfect satisfaction with the life. Truly 
the whole secret lies in arranging things sensibly, and 
especially in being careful about the food. A thing that 
I believe has a good effect upon us is this living to- 
gether in the one saloon, with everything in common. 
So far as I know, it is the first time that such a thing 
has been tried ; but it is quite to be recommended. I 
have heard some of the men complain of sleeplessness. 
This is generally considered to be one inevitable con- 
sequence of the Arctic darkness. As far as I am per- 
sonally concerned, I can say that I have felt nothing of 
it ; I sleep soundly at night. I have no great belief in 
this sleeplessness ; but then I do not take an after-dinner 
nap, which most of the others are addicted to ; and if 
they sleep for several hours during the day they can 
hardly expect to sleep all night as well. ' One must be 
awake part of one's time,' as Sverdrup said. 

"Sunday, December 31st. And now the last day of 
the year has come ; it has been a long year, and has 
brought much both of good and bad. It began with 
good by bringing little Liv — such a new, strange hap- 
piness that at first I could hardly believe in it. Hut 
hard, unspeakably hard, was the parting that came later; 
no year has brought w(M-se pain than that. And the 
time since has been one great longing. 


"•Would'st thou be free from care and pain. 
Thou must love nothing here on earth." 

" But longing— oh, there arc worse things than that ! 
All that is good and beautiful may flourish in its shelter. 
Everything would be over if we cease to lonc"- 

"But you fell of¥ at the end, old year; you hardly 
carried us so far as you ought. Still you might have 
done worse ; you have not been so bad, after all. Have 
not all hopes and calculations been justified, and are we 
not drifting away just where I wished and hoped we 
should be > Only one thing has been amiss— I did not 
think the drift would have gone in quite so many zig- 

" One could not have a more beautiful New-year's- 
eve. The aurora borealis is burning in wonderful colors 
and bands of light over the whole sky, but particularly in 
the north. Thousands of stars sparkle in the blue fir- 
mament among he northern lights. On every side the 
ice stretches endless and silent into the night. The 
rime-covered rigging of the Fram stands out sharp and 
dark against the shining sky. 

"The newspaper was read aloud; only verses this 
time; among other poems the following: 


'"And you, my boy, must give yourself trouble 
Of your old father to be the double; 
Your lineage, honor, and fight hard to merit 
Our praise for the habits we trust you inherit. 




On we must ^<~i if you want to please us; 

To make us lie still is the way to tease us. 

In the old year we sailed not so badly, 

Be it so still, or you'll hear us groan sadly. 

When the time comes you must break up the ice for us; 

When the time comes you must win the great prize for us; 

We fervently hope, having reached our great goal, 

To eat next Christmas dinner beyond the North i'oie.' 


I " 

" During the evening we were regaled with pineapple, 
figs, cakes, and other sweets, and about midnight Han- 
sen brought in toddy, and Nordahl cigars and ciga- 
rettes. At the moment of the passing of the year all 
stood up and I had to make an apology for a speech 
— to the effect that the old year had been, after all, a 
good one, and I hoped the new would not be worse; 
that I thanked them for good comradeship, and was 
sure that our life together this year would be as com- 
fortable and pleasant as it had been during the last. 
Then they sang the songs that had been written for the 
farewell entertainments given to us at Christiania and at 
Bergen : 

" ' Our mother, weep not ! it was thou 

Gave them the wish to wander ; 
To leave our coasts and turn their prow 

Towards night and perils yonder. 
Thou pointedst to the open sea, 

The long cape was thy finger ; 
The white sail wings they got from thee; 

Thou canst not bid them linger! 

"'Yes, they are thine, O mother old ! 

And proud thou dost embrace them ; 
Thou hear'st of dangers manifold. 
But know'st thy sons can face them. 


And tears of joy thine eyes will rain, 
Tile day the Fram comes steering 

Up fjord again to music strain, 
And the roar of thousands cheering. 



" Then I read aloud our last greeting, a telegram we 
received at Tromso from Moltke Moe : 

"'Lucie on the way, 
Sun on the sea, 
Sun on your minds, 
Help from the winds : 
May the packed floes 
Part and unclose 
Where the ship goes. 
Forward her progress be, 
E'en though the silent sea. 

After her freeze up again. 

Strength enough, meat enough, 

Hope enough, heat enough ; 

The Fram will go sure enough then 

To the Pole and so back to the dwellings of men. 

Luck on the way 
To thee and thy band, 
And welcome back to the fatherland !' 

" After this we read some of Vinje's poems, and then 
sang songs from the Fransj'aa and others. 

" It seems strange that we should have seen the New 
Year in already, and that it will not begin at home for 
eight hours yet. It is almost 4 a.m. now. I had thought 
of sitting up till it was New Year in Norway too; but 
no; I will rather go to bed and sleep, and dream that 
I am at home. 



•I 'M 



"Monday, January ist, 1894. The year began well. 
I was awakened by Juell's cheerful voice wishing me a 
Happy New Year. He had come to give me a cup of 
coffee in bed — delicious Turkish coffee, his Christmas 
present from Miss Fougner. It is beautiful clear weath- 
er, with the thermometer at 36° below zero ( — 38° C). It 
almost seems to me as if the twilight in the south were 
beginning to grow; the upper edge of it to-day was 14° 
above the horizon. 

" An extra good dinner at 6 p.m. 

1. Tomato soup. 

2. Cod roe with melted butter and potatoes. 

3. Roast reindeer, with green pease, potatoes, and cranberry jam. 

4. Cloudberries with milk. 

Ringnes beer. 

'f 11 


'" I do not know if this begins to give any impression 
of great sufferings and privations. I am lying in my 
berth, writing, reading, and dreaming. It is always a 
curious feeling to write for the first time the number of 
a New Year. Not till then does one grasp the fact that 
the old year is a thing of the past ; the new one is here, 
and one must prepare to wrestle with it. Who knows 
what it is bringing.'* Good and evil, no doubt, but most 
good. It cannot but be that we shall go forward towards 
our goal and towards home. 

" ' Life is rich and wreathed in roses ; 
Gaze forth into a world of dreams.' 



" Yes ; lead us, if not to our goal— that would be too 
early— at least towards it; strengthen our hope; but 
perhaps — no, no perhaps. These brave boys of mine 
deserve to succeed. There is not a doubt in their minds. 
Each one's whole heart is set on getting north. I can 
read it in their faces — it shines from every eye. There 
is one sigh of disappointment every time that we hear 
that we are drifting south, one sigh of relief when we 
begin to go north again, to the unknown. And it is in 
me and my theories that they trust. What if I have 
been mistaken, and am leading them astray.? Oh, I 
could not help myself ! We are the tools of powers be- 
yond us. We are born under lucky or unlucky stars. 
Till now I have lived under a lucky one ; is its light to 
be darkened ? I am superstitious, no doubt, but I be- 
lieve in my sfar. And Norway, our fatherland, what has 
the old year brought to thee, and what is the new year 
bringing.? Vain to think of that; but I look at our 
pictures, the gifts of Werenskjold, Munthe, Kitty Kiel- 
land, Skredsvig, Hansteen, Eilif Pettersen, and I am at 
home, at home ! 

"Wednesday, January 3d. The old lane about 7300 
feet ahead of the Fram has opened again— a large rift, 
with a coating of ice and rime. As soon as ice is formed 
in this temperature .the frost forces it to throw out its 
salinity on the surface, and this itself freezes into pretty 
salt flowers, resembling hoar-frost. The temperature is 
between t,^° Fahr. and 40° Fahr. below zero (-39° C. to 


f ;'y 







-40° C), but when there is added to this a biting wind, 
with a velocity of from 9 to 16 feet per second, it must 
be allowed that it is rather ' cool in the shade.' 

"Sverdrup and I agreed to-da}^ that the Christmas 
holidays had better stop now and the usual life begin 
again ; too much idleness is not good for us. It cannot 
be called a full nor a comi^licated one, this life of ours; 
but it has one advantage, that we are all satisfied with it, 
such as it is. 

" They are still working in the engine-room, but ex- 
pect to finish what they are doing to the boiler in a few 
days, and then all is done there. Then the turning- 
lathe is to be set up in the hold, and tools for it have 
to be forged. There is often a job for Smith Lars, 
and then the forge flames forward by the forecastle, 
and sends its red glow on to the rime-covered rigging, 
and farther up into the starry night, and out over the 
waste of ice. From far off you can hear the strokes 
on the anvil ringing through the silent night. When 
one is wandering alone out there, and the well-known 
sound reaches one's ear, and one sees the red glow, 
memory recalls less solitary scenes. While one stands 
gazing, perhaps a light moves along the deck and 
slowly up the rigging. It is Johansen on his way up 
to the crow's-nest to read the temperature. Blessing 
is at present v ngaged in counting blood corpuscles again, 
and estimating amounts of haemoglobin. For this pur- 
pose he draws blood every month from every mother's 



son of us, the bloodthirsty dog, with supreme contempt for 
all the outcry against vivisection. Hansen and his assist- 
ant take observations. The meteorological ones, which 
are taken every four hours, arc Johansen's special depart- 
ment. First he reads the thermometer, hygrometer, and 
thermograph on deck (they were afterwards kept on the 
ice); next the barometer, barograph, and thermometer 
in the saloon; and then the minimum and maximum 
thermometers in the crow's-nest (this to take the record 
of the temperature of a higher air stratum). Then he 
goes to read the thermometers that are kept on the ice to 
measure the radiations from its surface, and perhaps 
down to the hold, too, to see what the temperature is 
there. Every second day, as a rule, astronomical obser- 
vations are taken, <-' ' cide our whereabouts and keep 
us up to date in the crab's progress we are making. Tak- 
ing these observations with the thermometer between 22° 
Fahr. and 40° Fahr. below zero (-30° C. to -40" C.) is a 
very mixed pleasure. Standino- still on deck workincr 
with these fine instruments, and screwing in metal screws 
with one's bare fingers, is not altogether agreeable. It 
often happens that they must siap their arms about and 
tramp hard up and down the deck. They are received with 
shouts of laughter when tiiey reappear in the saloon after 
the performance of one of these thundering nigger break- 
downs above our heads that has shaken the whole ship. 
We ask innocently if it was cold on deck. ' Not the 
very least,' says Hansen; 'just a pleasant tempera^, ■.:.' 

^V ' i 



' And your feet are not cold now ? ' ' No, I can't say that 
they are, but one's fingers get a little cold sometimes.' 
Two of his had just been frost-bitten ; but he refused to 
wear one of the wolf-skin suits which I had given out for 
the meteorologists. ' It is too mild for that yet ; and it 
does not do to pamper one's self,' he says. 

" I believe it was when the thermometer stood at 40° 
below zero that Hansen rushed up on deck one morning 
in shirt and drawers to take an observation. He said he 
had not time to get on his clothes. 

" At certain intervals they also take magnetic observa- 
tions on the ice, these two. I watch them standing there 
with lanterns, bending over their instruments ; and pres- 
ently I see them tearing away over the floe, their arms 
swinsins like the sails of the windmill when there is a 
wind pressure of 32 to 39 feet — but ' it is not at all cold.' 
I cannot help thinking of what I have read in the ac- 
counts of some of the earlier expeditions — namely, that 
at such temperatures it was impossible to take observa- 
tions. It would take worse than this to make these fel- 
lows ffive in. In the intervals between their observations 
and calculations I hear a murmuring in Hansen's cabin, 
which means that the principal is at present occupied in 
inflicting a dose of astronomy or navigation upon his 

" It is something dreadful the amount of card-playing 
that goes on in the saloon in the evenings now ; the 
gaming demon is abroad far into the night ; even our 




model Sverdrup is possessed by him. They have not 
yet played the shirts off their backs, but some of them 
have literally played the bread out of their mouths ; two 
poor wretches have had to go without fresh bread for a 
whole month because they had forfeited their rations of 
it to their opponents. But, all the same, this card-playing 
is a healthy, harmless recreation, giving occasion for much 
laughter, fun, and pleasure. 

"An Irish proverb says, ' Be happy; and if you can- 
not be happy, be careless ; and if you cannot be careless, 
be as careless as you can.' This is good philosophy, 
which — no, what need of proverbs here, where life is 
happy! It was in all sincerity that Amundsen burst out 
yesterday with, ' Yes, isn't it just as I say, that we are the 
luckiest men on earth that can live up here where we have 
no cares, get everything given us without needing to 
trouble about it, and are well off in every possible way V 
Hansen agreed that it certainly was a life without care. 
Juell said much the same a little ago ; what seems to please 
him most is that there are no summonses here, no cred- 
itors, no bills. And I ? Yes, I am happy too. It is an 
easy life ; nothing that weighs heavy on one, no letters, 
no newspapers, nothing disturbing; just that monastic, 
out-of-the-world existence that was my dream when I was 
younger and yearned for quietness in which to give my- 
self up to my studies. Longing, even when it is strong 
and sad, is not unhappiness. A man has truly no right 
to be anything but happy when fate permits him to fol- 

li v^'- 








low up his ideals, exempting him from the wearing strain 
of every-day cares, that he may with clearer vision strive 
towards a lofty goal. 

"'Where there is work, success will follow,' said a 
poet of the land of work. I am working as hard as I 
can, so I suppose success will pay me a visit by-and-by. 
I am lying on the sofa, reading about Kane's misfortunes, 
drinking beer, smoking cigarettes. Truth obliges me to 
confess that I have become addicted to the vice I con- 
demn so strongly — but flesh is grass; so I blow the 
smoke clouds into the air and dream sweet dreams. It 
is hard work, but I must do the best I can. 

" Thursday, January 4th. It seems as if the twilight 
were increasing quite perceptibly now, but this is very 
possibly only imagination. I am in good spirits in spite 
of the fact that we are drifting south again. After all, 
what does it matter? Perhaps the gain to science will 
be as great, and, after all, I suppose this desire to reach 
the North Pole is only a piece of vanity. I have now a 
very good idea of what it must be like up there. (' I like 
that !' say you.) Our deep water here is connected with, 
is a part of, the deep waiter of the Atlantic Ocean — of 
this there can be no doubt. And have not I found 
that things go exactly as I calculated they would when- 
e\'er we get a favorable wind .^^ Have not many be- 
fore us had to wait for wind 1 And as to vanity — 
that is a child's disease, got over long ago. All calcu- 
lations, with but one exception, have proved correct. 



We made our way along the coast of Asia, which many 
prophesied we should have great difficulty in doing. We 
were able to sail farther north than I had dared to hope 
for in my boldest moments, and in just the longitude I 
wished. We are closed in by the ice, also as I wished. 
The Fram has borne the ice -pressure splendidly, and 
allows herself to be lifted by it without so much as 
creaking, in spite of being m.ore heavily loaded with 
coal, and drawing more water than we reckoned on when 
we made our calculations ; and this after her certain de- 
struction and ours was prophesied by those most ex- 
perienced in such matters. I have not found the ice 
higher nor heavier than I expected it to be; and the 
comfort, warmth, and good ventilation on board are far 
beyond my expectations. Nothing is wanting in our 
equipment, and the food is quite exceptionally good. As 
Blessing and I agreed a few days ago, it is as good as at 
home; there is not a thing we long for; not even the 
thought of a beefsteak a la Chateaubriand, or a pork 
cutlet with mushrooms and a bottle of Burgundy, can 
make our mouths water; we simply don't care about 
such things. The preparations for the expedition cost me 
several years of precious life ; but now I do not grudge 
them: my object is attained. On the drifting ice we live 
a winter life, not only in every respect better than that 
of previous expeditions, but actually as if we had brought 
a bit of Norway, of Europe, with us. We are as well 
off as if we were at home. All together in one saloon. 



1 i: 


I I 



with everythincj in common, we are a little part of the 
fatherland, and daily we draw closer and closer togethei. 
In one point only have my calculations proved incor- 
rect, but unfortunately in one of the most important. 
I presupposed a shallow Polar Sea, the geatest depth 
known in these regions \\\^ till no\, being 80 fathoms, 
found by the Jeannctte. I reasoned that all currents 
would have a strong influence in the shallow Polar 
Sea, and that on the .Asiatic side the current of the 
Siberian rivers would be strong enough to drive the 
ice a good way north. But here I already find a depth 
which we cannot measure with all our line, a depth of 
certainly 1000 fathoms, and possibly double that. This 
at once upsets all faith in the operation of a current ; 
we find either none, or an extremely slight one; my 
only trust now is in the winds. Columbus discovered 
America by means of a mistaken calculation, and even 
that not his own ; heaven only knows where my mistake 
will lead us. Only I repeat once more — the Siberian 
driftwood on the coast of Greenland cannot lie, and the 
way it went we must go. 

" Monday, January 8th. Little Liv is a year old to- 
day ; it will be a fete day at home. As I was lying on 
the sofa reading after dinner, Peter put his head in at 
the door and asked me to come up and look at a 
^transe star which had just shown itself above the ho- 
rizon, shining like a beacon flame. I got quite a start 
when I came on deck and saw a strong red light just 



above the cdirc of the ice in the south. It twinkled 
and chancred color; it looked just as if some one were 
coming carryinpr a lantern over the ice; I actually be- 
lieve that for a moment I so far forgot our surround- 
ings as to think tnat it really was some person ap- 
proaching from the south. It was Venus, which we see 
to-day for the first time, as it has till now been beneath 
the horizon. It is beautiful with its red light. Curious 
that it should happen to come to-day. It must be Liv's 
star, as Jupiter is the home star. And Liv's birthday 
is a lucky day — we are on our way north again. Ac 
cording to observations we are certainly north of 79° 
north latitude. On the home day, September 6th, the 
favorable wind began to blow that carried us ak^ng the 
coast of Asia; perhaps Liv's day has brought us into a 
good current, and we are making the real start for the 
north under her star. 

"Friday, January 12th. There was pressure about 
10 o'clock this morning in the opening forward, but J 
could see no movement when I was there a little later. 
I followed the opening some way to the north. It is 
pretty cold work walking with the thermometer at 40^ 
Fahr. below zero, and the wind blowing with a velocity of 
16 feet per second straight in your face. But now we 
are certainly drifting fast to the north under Liv's star. 
After all, it is not quite indifferent to me whether we 
are going north or south. "When the drift is northward 
new life seems to come into me, and hope, the ever- 

t 1' 


' M 




young, si)rint;s fresh and green from under the winter 
snow. I see the way open before me, and I see the 
home-coming in the distance — too great happiness to 
believe in. 

"Sunday, January 14th. Sunday again. The time 
is passing almost quickly, and there is more light every 
day. There was great excitement to-day when yester- 
day evening's observations were being calculated. All 
guessed that we had come a long way north again. 
Several thought to 79° iS' or 20'. Others, I believe, in- 
sisted on So". The calculation places us in 79° 19' north 
latitude, 137'^ 31' east longitude. A good step onward. 
Yesterday the ice was quiet, but this morning there was 
considerable pressure in several places. Goodness 
knows what is causing it just now; it is a whole week 
after new moon. I took a long walk to the southwest, 
and sot ris:ht in among it. Packing began where I 
stood, with roars and thunders below me and on every 
side. I jumped, and ran like a hare, as if I had never 
heard such a thing before ; it came so unexpectedly. 
The ice was curiously flat there to the south ; the farther 
I went the flatter it grew, with excellent sledging surface. 
Over such ice one could drive many miles a day. 

" Monday, January 15th. There was pressure forward 
both this morning and towards noon, but we heard the 
loudest sounds from the north. Sverdrup, Mogstad, 
and Peter went in that direction and were stopped by 
a large, open channel. Peter and I afterwards walked 



a long distance N.N.H., past a large opening that I had 
skirted before Christmas. It was shining, flat ice, 
spienchVl for sledging on, always better the farther 
north we went. The longer I wander about and see 
this sort of ice in all directions, the more strongly does 
a plan take hold of me that I have long had in my 
mind. It would be possible to get with dogs and 
sledges over this ice to the Pole, if one left the ship 
for good and made one's way back in the direction of 
Franz Josef Land, Spitzbergen, or the west coast of 
Greenland. It might almost be called an easy expe- 
dition for two men. 

" Hut it would be too hasty to go off in spring. We 
must first see what kind of drift the summer brin«Ts 
And as I think over it, I feel doubtful if it would be 
right to go off and leave the others. Imagine if I 
came home and they did not ! Yet it was to explore 
the unknown polar regions that I came; it was for that 
the Norwegian people gave their money; and surely 
my first duty is to do that if I can. I must give the 
drift plan a longer trial yet; but if it takes us in a 
wrong direction, then there is nothing for it but to try 
the other, come what may. 

"Tuesday, January i6th. The ice is quiet to-day. 
Does longing stupefy one, or does it wear itself out and 
turn at last into stolidity t Oh that burnincr lonsinii nifrht 
and day were happiness! But now its fire has turned 
to ice. Why does home seem so far away .? It is one's 

<4 \ 




all ; life without it is so empty, so empty — nothing but 
dead emptiness. Is it the restlessness of spring that is 
beginning to come over one ? — the desire for action, for 
something different from this indolent, enervating life? 
Is the soul of man nothing but a succession of moods 
and feelings, shifting as incalculably as the changing 
winds? Perhaps my brain is over-tired; day and night 
my thoughts have turned on the one point, the possi- 
biHty of reaching the Pole and getting home. Perhaps 
it is rest I need — to sleep, sleep! Am I afraid of 
venturing my life? No, it cannot be that. But what 
else, then, can be keeping me back ? Perhaps a secret 
doubt of the practicability of the plan. My mind is 
confused; the whole thing has got into a tangle; I am 
a riddle to myself. I am worn out, and yet I do not 
feel any special tiredness. Is it perhaps because I sat 
up reading last night ? Everything around is empti- 
ness, and my brain is a blank. I look at the home 
pictures and am moved by them in a curious, dull way ; ' 
I look into the future, and feel as if it does not much 
matter to me whether I get home in the autumn of this 
year or next. So long as I get home in the end, a year 
or two seem almost nothing. I have never thought this 
before. I have no inclination to read, nor to draw, nor 
to do anything else whatever. Folly ! Shall I try a few 
pages of Schopenhauer? No, I will go to bed, though 
I am not sleepy. Perhaps, if the truth v^ere known, I 
am longing now more than ever. The only thing that 



helps me is writing, trying to express myself on these 
pages, and then looking at myself, as it were, from the 
outside. Yes, man's life is nothing but a succession of 
moods, half memory and half hope. 

" Thursday, January i8th. The wind that began yes- 
terday has gone on blowing all to-day with a velocity 
of 1 6 to 19 feet per second, from S.S.E., S.E., and E.S.E. 
It has no doubt helped us on a good way north ; but it 
seems to be going down ; now, about midnight, it has 
sunk to 4 metres; and the barometer, which has been 
rising all the time, has suddenly Ijegun to fall; let us 
hope that it is not a cyclone passing over us, bringing 
northerly wind. It is curious that there is almost always 
a rise of the thermometer with these stronger winds ; to- 
day it rose to 13° Fahr. below zero (-25° C). A south 
wind of less velocity generally lowers the temperature, 
and a moderate north wind raises it. Payer's explana- 
tion of this raising of the temperature by strong winds 
is that the wind is warmed by passing over large open- 
ings in the ice. This can hardly be correct, at any rate 
in our case, for we have few or no openings. I am rath- 
er inclined to believe that the rise is produced by air 
from higher strata being brought down to the surface of 
the earth. It is certain that the higher air is warmer 
than the lower, which comes inJ:o contact with snow and 
ice surfaces cooled by radiation. Our observations go to 
prove that such is the case. Add to this that the air in 
its fall is heated by the i-ising pressure. A strong wind, 

1^ J 

■f 'M 






1 ' I 




even if it does not come from the higher strata of the at- 
mosphere, must necessarily make some confusion in the 
mutual position of the various strata, mixing the higher 
with those below them, and vice versa. 

" I had a strange dream last night. I had got home. 
I can still feel something of the trembling joy, mixed 
with fear, with which I neared land and the first tele- 
graph station. I had carried out my plan ; we had 
reached the North Pole on sledges, and then got down 
to Franz Josef Land. I had seen nothing but drift-ice ; 
and when people asked what it was like up there, and 
how we knew we had been to the Pole, I had no answer 
to give; I had forgotten to take accurate observations, 
and now began to feel that this had been stupid of me. 
It is very curious that I had an exactly similar dream 
when we were drifting on the ice-floes along the east 
coast of Greenland, and thought that we were being car- 
ried farther and farther from our destination. Then I 
dreamed that I had reached home after crossing Green- 
land on the ice; but that I was ashamed because I could 
give no account of what I had seen on the way — I had 
forgotten everything. Is there not a lucky omen in 
the resemblance between these two dreams ? I attained 
my aim the first time, bad as things looked; shall I not 
do so this time too? If. I were superstitious I should 
feel surer of it; but, even though I am not at all su- 
perstitious, I have a firm conviction that our enterprise 
must be successful. This belief is not merely the result 



of the last two days' south wind ; something within me 
says that we shall succeed. I laugh now at myself for 
having been weak enough to doubt it. I can spend 
hours staring into the light, dreaming of how, when we 
land, I shall grope my way to the first telegraph station, 
trembling with emotion and suspense. I write out tele- 
gram after telegram ; I ask the clerk if he can give me 
any news from home. 

"Friday, January 19th. Splendid wind, with velocity 
of 13 to 19 feet per second; we are going north at a 
grand rate. The red, glowing twilight is now so bright 
about midday that if we were in more southern latitudes 
we should e.;pect to see the sun rise bright and glorious 
above the horizon in a few minutes; but we shall have to 
wait a month yet for that. 

" Saturday, January 20th. I had about 600 pounds of 
pemmican and 200 pounds of bread brought up from the 
hold to-day and stowed on the forecastle. It is wrono- 
not to have some provisions on deck against any sudden 
emergency, such as fire. 

"Sunday, January 21st. We took a long excursion 
to the northwest; the ice in that direction, too, was tol- 
erably flat. Sverdrup and I got on the top of a hio-h- 
pressure mound at some distance from here. It was in 
the centre of what had been very violent packing, but, all 
the same, the wall at its highest was not over 1 7 feet, and 
this was one of the highest and biggest altogether that I 
have seen yet. An altitude of the moon taken this even- 


I TSl 


!1 f 


t !■ 



I I 



ing showed us to be in 79^ 35' north latitude — exactly what 
I had thought. We are so accustomed now to calculating 
our drift by the wind that we are able to tell pretty 
nearly where we are. This is a good step northward, if 
we could take many more such. In honor of the King's 
birthday we have a treat of figs, raisins, and almonds. 

"Tuesday, January 23d. When I came on deck this 
morning ' Caiaphas ' was sitting out on the ice on the 
port quarter, barking incessantly to the east. I knew 
there must be something th'^re, and went off with a re- 
volver, Sverdrup following with one also. When I got 
near the dog he came to meet me, always wriggling his 
head round to the east and barking; then he ran on before 
us in that direction ; it was plain that there was some 
animal there, and of course it could only be a bear. The 
full moon stood low and red in the north, and sent its 
feeble light obliquely across the broken ice-surface. I 
looked out sharply in all directions over the hummocks, 
which cast long, many -shaped shadows; but I could 
distinguish nothing in this confusion. We went on, 
' Caiaphas ' first, growling and barking and pricking his 
ears, and I after him, expecting every moment to see a 
bear loom up in front of us. Our course was eastward 
along the opening. The dog presently began to go 
more cautir. dy and straighter forward; then he stopped 
making any noise except a low growl — we were evident- 
ly drawing near. I mounted a hummock to look about, 
and caught sight among the blocks of ice of something 

n I 



dark, which seemed to be coming towards us. ' There 
comes a black dog,' I called. ' No, it is a bear,' said 
Sverdrup, who was more to the side of it and could see 
better. I saw now, too, that it was a large animal, and 
that it had only been its head that I had taken for a 
dog. It was not unlike a bear in its movements, but 
it seemed to me remarkably dark in color. I pulled 
the revolver out of the holster and rushed forward to 
empty all its barrels into the creature's head. When 
I was just a few paces from it, and preparing to shoot, it 
raised its head and I saw that it was a walrus, and that 
same moment it threw itself sideways into the water. 
There we stood. To shoot at such a fellow with a re- 
volver would be of as much use as squirting water at a 
goose. The great black head showed again immediate- 
ly in a strip of moonlight on the dark water. The an- 
imal took a long look at us, disappeared for a little, 
appeared again nearer, bobbed up and down, blew, lay 
with its head under water, shoved itself over towards us, 
raised its head again. It was enough to drive one mad ; 
if we had only had a harpoon I could easily have stuck 
it into its back. Yes, if we had had— and back to the 
Fram we ran as fast as our legs would carry us to get 
harpoon and rifle. But the harpoon and line were stored 
away, and were not to be had at once. Who could 
have guessed that they would be needed here.? The 
harpoon point had to be sharpened, and all this took 
tune. And for all our searching afterwards east and 




■ w .. 

I'/ ' 


j \ 






ill 1 



I, I 

west along the opening, no walrus was to be found. 
Goodness knows where it had gone, as there are hard- 
ly any openings in the ice for a long distance round. 
Sverdrup and I vainly fret over not having known at 
once what kind of anirnal it was, for if we had only 
guessed we should have him now. But who expects 
to meet a walrus on close ice in the middle of a wild 
sea of a thousand fathoms deptli, and that in the heart 
of winter.? None of us ever heard of such a thine 
before ; it is a perfect mystery. As I thought we 
might have come upon shoals or into the neighborhood 
of land, I had soundings taken in the afternoon with 
130 fathoms (240 metres) of line, but no bottom was 

"By yesterday's observations we are in 79° 41' north 
latitude and 1 35° 29' east longitude. That is good progress 
north, and it does not much matte- that we have been taken 
a little west. The clouds are driving this evening before 
a strong south wind, so we shall likely be going before 
it soon too; in the meantime there is a breeze from the 
south so slight that you hardly feel it. 

" The opening on our stern lies almost east and west. 
We could see no end to it westward when we went after 
the walrus ; and Mogstad and Peter had gone three miles 
east, and it was as broad as ever there. 

" Wednesday, January 24th. At supper this evening 
Peter told some of his remarkable Spitzbergen stories — 
about his comrade Andreas Bek. 'Well, you sic, it was 






up about Dutchman's Island, or Amsterdam Island, that 
Andreas Bek and I were on shore and got in among 
all the graves. We thought we'd like to see what was 
in them, so we broke up some of the coffins, and there 
they lay. Some of them had still flesh on their jaws and 
noses, and some of them still had their caps on their 
heads. Andreas, he was a devil of a fellow, you see, 
and he broke up the coffins and got hold of the skulls, 
and rolled them about here and there. Some of them 
he set up for targets ^nd shot at. Then he wanted to 
see if there was marrow left in their bones, so he took 
and broke a thigh -bone — and, sure enough, there was 
marrow; he took and picked it out with a wooden pin.' 
" ' How could he do a thing like that .?' 
"'Oh, it war, only a Dutchman, you know. But he 
had a bad dream thr.t night, had Andreas. All the dead 
men came to fetch him, and he ran from them and got 
right out on the bowsprit, and there he sat and yelled, 
while the dead men stood on the forecastle. And 
the one with his broken thigh-bone in his hand was 
foremost, and he came crawling out, and wanted 
Andreas to put it together again. But just then he 
wakened. We were lying in the same berth, you see, 
Andreas and me, and I sat up in the berth and lauo-hed 
listening to him yelling. I wouldn't waken him, not I. 
I thought it was fun to hear him getting paid out a little.' 
'"It was bad of you, Peter, ' have any part in that 
horrid plundering of dead bodie ' 






1 "ta 

I h 






^q! I 





"'Oh, I never did anything to them, you know. Just 
once I broke up a coffin to get wood to make a fire for 
our coffee; but when we opened it the body just fell to 
pieces. But it was juicy wood, that, better to burn than 
the best fir-roots — such a fire , s it made !' 

" One of the others now remarked, ' Wasn't it the 
devil that used a skull for his coffee-cup ?' 

"'Well, he hadn't anything else, you see, and he just 
happened to find one. There was no harm in that, was 
there T 

" Then Jacobsen began to hold forth : ' It's not at 
all such an uncommon thing to use skulls for shooting 
at, either because people fancy them for targets, or 
because of some other reason; they shoot in throu<>-h 
the eyeholes,' etc., etc. 

"I asked Peter about ' Tobiesen's ' coffin— if it had 
ever been dug up to find out if it was true that his 
men had killed him and his son. 

" ' No, that one has never been dug up.' 

" ' I sailed past there last year,' begins Jacobsen -gain ; 
' I didn't go ashore, but it seems to me that I heard that 
it had been dug up.' 

" ' That's just rubbish ; it has never been dug up.' 

" ' Well,' said I, ' it seems to me that I've heard some- 
thing about it too; I believe it was here on board, and 
I am very much mistaken if it was not yourself that said 
it, Peter.' 

" ' No, I never said that. All I said was that a man 





once struck a walrus-spear through the coffin, and it's 
sticking there yet.' 

" ' What did he do that for ?' 

" ' Oh, just because he wanted to know if there was 
anything in the coffin ; and yet he didn't want to open 
it, you know. But let him lie in peace now.' " 

" Friday January 26th. Peter and I went eastward 
along the opening this morning for about seven miles, 
and we saw where it ends, in some old pressure-ridges;' 
its whole length is over seven miles. Movement in the ice' 
began on our way home ; indeed, there was pretty strong 
pressure all the time. As we were walking on the 
new ice in the opening it rose in furrows or cracked 
under our feet. Then it raised itself up into two high 
walls, between which we walked as if along a street, 
amidst unceasing noises, sometimes howling and whining 
like a dog complaining of the cold, sometimes a roar like 
the thunder of a great waterfall. We were often obliged 
to take refuge on the old ice, either because we came to 
open water with a confusion of floating blocks, or because 
the line of the packing had gone straight across the 
opening, and there was a wall in front of us like a high 
frozen wave. It seemed as if the ice on the south side 
of the opening where the Fram is lying were moving 
east, or else that on the north side was moving west; fo^ 
the floes on the two sides slanted in towards each other 
in these directions. We saw tracks of a little bear which 
had trotted along the opening the day before. Unfort- 



■ ^ 




Ujl ! 



[ilr 1 ^ 

11'" i_ .. 



unately it had gone off southwest, and we had small 
hope, with this steady south wind, of its getting scent 
of the ship and corning to fetch a little of the flesh on 

"Saturday, January 27tli. The days are turning dis- 
tinctly lighter now. We can just see to read Verdens 
Gang* about midday. .At thai, time to-day Sverdrup 
thought he saw land far astern ; it was dark and irregular, 
in some places high ; he fancied that it might be only an 
appearance of clouds. When I returned from a walk, 
about 1 o'clock, I went up to look, but saw only piled- 
up ice. Perhaps this was the same as he saw, or possibly 
I was too late. (It turned out next day to be only an 
optical illusion.) Severe pressure has been going on this 
evening. It oegan at 7.30 astern in the opening, and 
went on steadily for two hours. It sounded as if a roar- 
ing waterfall were rushing down upon us with a force 
that nothing could resist. One heard the big floes crash- 
ing and breaking against each other. They were flung^ 
and pressed up into high walls, which must now stretch 
along the whole opening east and west, for one hears 
the roar the whole way. It is coming nearer just now; 
the ship is getting violent shocks ; it is like waves in the 
ice. They come on us from behind, and move forward. 
We stare out into the night, but can see nothing, for it 
is pitch-dark. Now I hear cracking and shifting in the 

* A Norwegian newspaper. 



hummock on the starboard quarter; it gets louder and 
stronger, and extends steadily. At last the waterfall roar 
abates a little. It becomes more unequal; there is a 
longer interval between each shock. I am so cold that I 
creep below. 

" But no sooner have I seated myself to write than 
the ship begins to heave and tremble again, and I hear 
through her sides the roar of the packing. As the bear- 
trap niay be in danger, three men go off to see to it, but 
they find that there is a distance of 50 paces between 
the new pressure-ridge and the wire by which the trap 
is secured, so they leave it as it is. The pressure-ridge 
was an ugly sight, they say, but they could distinguish 
nothing well in the dark. 

" Most violent pressure is beginning again. I must go 
on deck and look at it. The loud roar meets one as one 
opens the door. It is coming from the bow now. as well 
as from the stern. It is clear that ]3ressure-ridges are 
being thrown up in both openings, so if they rc^ach us 
we shall be taken by both ends and lifted lightly and 
gently out of the water. There i pressure near us 
on all sides. Creaking has begun in the old hummock 
on the port quarter; it is getting louder, and, so far 
as I can see, the hummock is slowly rising. A lane has 
opened right across the large floe on the port si. , you 
can see the water, dark as it is. Now both pressure and 
noise get worse and worse ; the ship shakes, and I feel 
as if I myself were being gently lifted with the stern-rail. 

i^-^. >1 

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I / 





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where I stand gazing out at the welter of ice-masses that 
resemble giant snakes writhing and twisting their great 
bodies out there under the quiet, starry sky, whose peace 
is only broken by one aurora serpent waving and flick- 
ering restlessly in the northeast. I once more think 
what a comfort it is to be safe on board the Fram, and 
look out with a certain contempt at the horrible hurly- 
burly Nature is raising to no purpose whatever; it will 
not crush us in a hurry, nor even frighten us. Suddenly 
I remember that my fine thermometer is in a hole on a 
floe to port on the other side of the opening, and must 
certainly be in danger. I jump on to the ice, find a 
place where I can leap across the opening, and grope 
about in the dark until I find the piece of ice covering 
the hole; I get hold of the string, and the thermometer 
is saved. I hurry on board again well pleased, and down 
into my comfortable cabin to smoke a pipe of peace — alas! 
this vice grows upon me more and more — and to listen 
with glee to the roar of the pressure outside and feel its 
shakings, like so many earthquakes, as I sit and write my 
diary. Safe and comfortable, I cannot but think with 
deep pity of the many who have had to stand by on deck 
in readiness to leave their frail vessels on the occurrence 
of any such pressure. The poor Tegethoff fellows — they 
had a bad time of it, and yet theirs was a good ship in 
comparison with many of the others. It is now 11.30, 
and the noise outside seems to be subsiding. 

"It is remarkable that we should have this strong: 



pressure just now, with the moon in its last quarter and 
neap tide. This does not agree with our previous expe- 
riences ; no more does the fact that the pressure the day 
before yesterday was from 12 a.m. to about 2 p.m., and 
then a<;ain at 2 a.m., and now we have had it from 7.30 
to 10.30 p.m. Can land have somctliing to do with it 
here, after all.? The temj)erature to-day is 42^ Fahr. 
below zero (-41.4' C), but there is no wind, and we 
have not had such pleasant weather for walking for a 
long time; it feels almost mild here when the air is still. 
" No, that was not the end of the pressure. When I 
was on deck at a quarter to twelve roaring and trembling 
began again in the ice forward on the port quarter; then 
suddenly came one loud boom after another, sounding 
out in the distance, and the ship gave a start ; there was 
again a little pressure, and after that quietness. I-aint 
aurora borealis. 

" Sunday, January 28th. Strange to say, there has 
been no pressure since 12 o'clock last night; the ice 
seems perfectly quiet. The pressure-ridge astern showed 
what violent packing yesterday's was; in one place its 
height was 18 or 19 feet above the surface of the water; 
floe-ice 8 feet thick was broken, pressed up in square 
blocks, and crushed to pieces. At one point a huge 
monolith of such floe-ice rose high into the air. Beyond 
this pressure-wall there was no great disturbance to be 
detected. There had been a little packing here and 
there, and the floe to port had four or five large cracks 


I ♦■■ 



\\ '1 




\ \ 

across it, which no doubt accounted for tlie explosions I 
heard last night. The ice to starboard was also cracked 
in several places. The pressure had evidently come from 
the north or N.N.E. The rid<j;e behind us is one of the 
highest I have seen yet. 1 believe that if the Fram had 
been lying there she would have been lifted right out of 
the water. I walked for some distance in a northeasterly 
direction, but saw no signs of pressure there. 

" Another Sunday. It is wonderful that the time can 
pass so quickly as it does. hOr one thing we are in 
better spirits, knowing that we are drifting steadily north. 
A rough estimate of to-day's observation gives 79' 50' 
north latitude. That is not much since Monday; but 
then yesterday and to-day there has been almost no 
wind at all, and the other days it has been very light — 
only once or twice with as much as 9 feet velocity, the 
rest of the time 3 and 6. 

"A remarkable event happened yesterday afternoon: I 
got Munthe's picture of the ' Three Princesses ' fastened 
firmly on the wall. It is a thing that we have been going 
to do ever since we left Christiania, but we have never 
been able to summon up energy for such a heavy under- 
taking — it meant knocking in four nails — and the picture 
has amused itself b\- constantlv falling and <j;uil]otinin<>- 
whoever happened to be sitting on the sofa below it. 

"Tuesday, January 30th. 79 49' north latitude, 134" 
57' east longitude, is the tale told by this afternoon's ob- 
servations, while by Sunday afternoon's we were in 79 



50' north latitude, and 133 23' east longitude. This 
fall-off to the southeast again was not more than I had 
expected, as it has been almost calm since Sunday. I 
explain the thing to myself thus: When the ice has 
been set adrift in a certain direction by the wind blow- 
ing that way for some time it gradually in process of 
drifting becomes more compressed, and when that wind 
dies away a reaction in the opposite direction takes 
place. Such a reaction must, I believe, have been the 
cause of Saturdays pressure, which stopped entirely as 
suddenly as it began. Since then there has not been 
the slightest appearance of movement in the ice. Prob- 
ably the pressure indicates the time when the drift 
turned. A light breeze has sprung up this afternoon 
from S.E. and E.S.E., increasing gradually to almost 
'mill wind." We are going north again; surely we shall 
get the better of the 80th degree this time. 

" Wednesday, January 31st. The wind is whistling 
among the hummocks; the snow flies rustlincr throu<rh 
the an- ; ice and sky are melted into one. It is dark ; our 
skins are smarting with the cold; but we are ijoin"- north 
at full speed, and arc in the wildest of gay spirits. 

" Thursday, I-ebruary ist. The same sort of weather 
as yesterday, except that it has turned quite mild— 7.^ 
Fahr. below /.ero (-22 C). The snow is falling exactly 
as it does in winter weather at home. The wind is more 
southerly, S.S.E. now, and rather lighter. It may be 
taken for granted that we have passed the 80th deoree, 

■ f 

i-i 1 


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and we had a small preliminary fete this evening — figs, 
raisins, and almonds — and dart-shooting, which last result- 
ed for me in a timely replenishment of my cigarette-case." 

" Friday, February 2d. High festival to-day in honor 
of the 80th degree, beginning with fresh rye-bread and 
cake for breakfast. Took a long walk to get up an appe- 
tite for dinner. According to this morning's observation, 
we are in 80° 10' north latitude and 132'' 10' east longi- 
tude. Hurrah ! Well sailed ! I had offered to bet heav- 
ily that we had passed 80", but no one would take the 
bet. Dinner menu : Ox-tail soup, fish-pudding, potatoes, 
rissoles, green pease, haricot beans, cloudberries with milk, 
and a whole bottle of beer to each man. Coffee and a 
cigarette after dinner. Could one wish for more-f* In the 
evening we had tinned pears and peaches, gingerbread, 
dried bananas, figs, raisins, and almonds. Complete hol- 
iday all day. We read aloud the discussions of this ex- 
pedition published before we left, and had some good 
laughs at the many objections raised. But our people at 
home, perhaps, do not laugh if they read them now. 

" Monday, February 5th. Last time we shall have 
Ringnes beer at dinner. Day of mourning. 

" Tuesday, February 6th. Calm, clear weather. A 
strong sun-glow above the horizon in the south ; yellow, 
green, and light blue above that ; all the rest of the sky 
deep ultramarine. I stood looking at it, trying to 
remember if the Italian sky was ever bluer; I do not 
think so. It is curious that this deep color should 



always occur along v/ith cold. Is it perhaps that a 
current from more northerly, clear regions produces 
drier and more transparent air in the upper strata? 
The color was so remarkable to-day that one could not 
help noticing it. Striking contrasts to it were formed 
by the Frams red deck-house and the white snow on 
roof and rigging. Ice and hummocks were quite violet 
wherever they were turned from the daylight. This 
color was specially strong over the fields of snow upon 
the floes. The temperature has been 52 Fahr. and 54° 
Fahr. below zero (-47° and -48'^ C). There is a sud- 
den change of 125" Fahr. when one comes up from the 
saloon, where the thermometer is at 72° Fahr. ( + 22° C); 
but, although thinly clad and bareheaded, one does not 
feel it cold, and can even with impunity take hold of 
the brass door-handle or the steel cable of the riooina. 
The cold is visible, however; one's breath is like 
cannon smoke before it is out of one's mouth; and 
when a man spits there is quite a little cloud of steam 
round the fallen moisture. The Fram always gives off 
a mist, which is carried along by the wind, and a man 
or a dog can be detected far off among tlie liummocks 
or pressure-ridges by the pillar of vapor that follows 
his progress. 

"Wednesday, February 7th. It is extraordinary 
what a frail thing hope, or rather the mind of man, is. 
I here was a little breeze this morning from the N.N.E., 
only 6 feet per second, thermometer at 57^ Fahr. below 



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zero (-49.6° C), and immediately one's brow is clouded 
over, and it becomes a matter of indifference how we get 
home, so long as we only get home soon. I immediately 
assume land to the northward, from which come these 
cold winds, with clear atmosphere and frost and bright 
blue skies, and conclude that this extensive tract of 
land must form a pole of cold with a constant maximum 
of air-pressure, which will force us south with north- 
east winds. About midday the air began to grow 
more hazy and my mood less gloomy. No doubt 
there is a south wind coming, but the temperature is 
still too low for it. Then the temperature, too, rises, 
and now we can rely on the wind. And this evening it 
came, sure enough, from S.S.W., and now, 12 p.m., its 
velocity is 1 1 feet, and the temperature has risen to 43° 
Fahr. below zero ( — 42° C). This promises well. We 
should soon reach 81 . The land to the northward has 
now vanished from my mind's eye. 

" We had lime-juice with sugar at dinner to-day instead 
of beer, and it seemed to be approved of. We call it 
wine, and we agreed that it was better than cider. 
Weighing has gone on this evening, and the increase in 
certain cases is still disquieting. Some have gained as 
much as 4 pounds in the last month — for instance, Sver- 
drup. Blessing, and Juell, who beats the record on board 
with 13 stone. ' I never weighed so much as I do now,' 
says Blessing, and it is much the same story with us all. 
Y""5. this is a fatiguing expedition, but our menus are 



always in due proportion to our labors. To-day's 
dinner: Knorr's bean soup, toad-in-the-hole, potatoes, 
rice and milk, with cranberry jam. Yesterday's dinner : 
Fish mc gratin (hashed fish) witli potatoes, curried rabbit 
with potatoes and French beans, stewed bilberries, and 
cranberries with milk. At breakfast yesterday we had 
freshly baked wheat-bread, at breakfast to-day freshly 
baked rye-bread. These are specimens of our ordinary 
bills of fare. It is as I expected : I bear the wind roar- 
ing in the rigging now; it is going to be a regular storm, 
according to our ideas of one here. 

"Saturday, February loth. Though that wind the 
other day did no^ ^ome to much after all, we still hoped 
that we had made good waj- north, and it was con- 
sequently an unwelcome surprise when yesterday's ob- 
servation showed our latitude to be 79" 57 N., i"' 
farther south instead of farther north. It is extraordi- 
nary how little inured one gets to disappointments ; the 
longing begins again ; and again attainment seems so 
far off, so doubtful. And this though I dream at nights 
just now of getting out of the ice west of Iceland. Hope 
is a rickety craft to trust one's self to. I had a lono- 
successful drive with the dogs to-day. 

" Sunday, February i ith. To-day we drove out with 
two teams of dogs. Things went well; the sledges got 
on much better over this ice than I though i they would. 
They do ..o' sink much in the snow. On tiat ice four 

dogs can draw two men. 


1,1 .' ""» 





",ii !A 

"Tuesday, February 13th. A long drive southwest 
yesterday with white dogs. To-day still farther in the 
same direction on snow-shoes. It is good healthy exer- 
cise, with a temperature of 43° Fahr. to 47° Fahr. below 
zero ( — 42" and —44° C.) and a biting north wind. Nat- 
ure is so fair and pure, the ice is so spotless, and the 
lights and shadows of the growing day so beautiful on 
the new-fallen snow. The Frams hoar-frost-covered 
rigging rises straight and white with rime towards the 
sparivling blue sky. C'ne's thoughts turn to the snow- 
shoeing days at home. 

" Thursd;!y, February 15th. I went yesterday on 
snow-shoes farther nortl^.east than I have ever been 
before, but I could still see the ship's rigging above 
the edge of the ice. I was able to go fast, because 
the ice was flat in that direction. To-day I went the 
same way with dogs. I am examining the 'lie of the 
land ' all round, and thinking of plans for the future. 

" What exaggerated reports of the Arctic cold are in 
circulation ! It was cold in Greenland, and it is not 
milder here ; tlie general day temperature just now is 
about 40° Fahr. and 43" Fahr. below zero. I was clothed 
yesterday as usual as regards the legs — drawers, knick- 
erbockers, stockings, frieze leggings, snow -socks, and 
moccasins ; my body covering consisted of an ordinary 
shirt, a wolf -skin cape, and a sealskin jacket, and I 
sweated like a horse. To-day I sat still, driving with 
only thin ducks above my ordinary leg wear, and on my 



body woollen shirt, vest, Iceland woollen jersey, a frieze 
coat, and a sealskin one. I found the temperature quite 
pleasant, ard even perspired a little to-day, too. Both 
yesterday and to-day I had a red-flannel mask on my 
face, but it made me too warn., and I had to take it off, 
though there was a bitter breeze from the north. That 
north wind is still persistent, sometimes v.ith a velocity 
of 9 or even 13 feet, but yet we do not seem to be drift- 
ing south ; we lie in 80° north latitude, or even a few 
minutes farther north. What can be the reason of this.? 
There is a little pressure every day just now. Curious 
that it should again occur at the moon's change of 
quarter. The moon stands high in the sky, and there is 
daylight now, too. Soon the sun will be making his ap- 
pearance, and when he does we shall hold high festival. 

" Friday. February i6th. Hurrah! A meridian obser- 
vation to-day shows 80^ T north latitude, so that we have 
come a few minutes north since last Friday, and that in 
spite of constant northerlx- winds since Monday. There 
is something very singular about this. Is it, as I have 
thought all along from the appearance of the clouds and 
the haziness of the air, that there has been south wind in 
the south, preventing the drift of the ice that way, or 
have we at last come under the influence of a current.? 
That shove we got to the south lately in the face of south- 
erly winds was a remarkable thing, and so is our remaining 
where we are now in spite of the northerly ones. It would 
seem that new powers of some kind must be at work. 





"To-day another noteworthy thing happened, which 
was that about midday we saw the sun, or, to be more 
correct, an image of the sun, for it was only a mirage. 
A peculiar impression was produced by the sight of 
that glowing ^re lit just above the outermost edge of 
the ice. According to the enthusiastic descriptions given 

I'.; 1^ 





,^,^.. .-r***^-"'' ■" 


by many Arctic travellers of the first appearance of this 
god of life after the long winter night, the impres- 
sion ought to be one of jubilant excitement; but it 
was not so in my case. We had not expected to see 
it for some days yet, so that my feeling was rather one 
of pain, of disappointment, that we must have drifted 



farther south than we thought. So it was with pleasure 
I soon discovered that it could not be the sun itself. 
The mirage was at first like a flattened-out glowing red 
streak of fire on the horizon; later there were two 
streaks, the one above the other, with a dark space 
between; and from the main -top I could see four, or 
even five, such horizontal lines directly over one another, 
and all of equal length; as if one could only imagine 
a square dull-red sun with horizontal dark streaks across 
It. An astronomical observation we took in the after- 
noon showed that the sun must in reality have been 
2° 22' below the horizon at noon; we cannot expect to 
see its disk above the ice before Tuesday at the earliest: 
it depends on the refraction, which is very stronf in this 
cold air. All the same, we had a small sun -festival 
this evening, on the occasion of the appearance of its 
image — a treat of figs, bananas, raisins, almonds, and 

"Sunday, February i8th. I went eastward yester- 
day on snow-shoes, and found a good snow-shoeing and 
driving road out to the flats that lie in that direction. 
There is a pretty bad bit first, with hummocks and 
pressure-ridges, and then you come out on these great 
wide plains, which seem to extend for miles and miles 
to the north, east, and southeast. To-day I drove 
out there with eight dogs; the driving goes capitally 
now; some of the others followed on snow-shoes. Still 
northerly wind. This is slow work; but anyhow we are 

t «i 

I r I; 



\ ' 



having clear, bright weather. Yes, it is all very well — 
loe, sledge, read both for instruction and 

w<-' snow-snoe 
amusement, wi 
smoke, play chess, eat a 

observations, play cards, chat, 
nd drink; but all the same it is 
an execrable life in the long-run, this — at least, so it 
seems to mc at times. When I look at the picture of our 
beautiful in the evening light, with my wife stand- 
iiiir in the carden, I feel as if it were impossible that this 
could go on much longer. Hut only the merciless fates 
know when we shall stand there together again, feeling all 
life's sweetness as we look out over the smiling fjord, and 
. . . Taking everything into calculation, if I am to be per- 
fectly honest, I think this is a wretched state of matters. 
We are now in about 80 north latitude, in Septti..ber we 
were in 79°; that is, let us say, one degree for five months. 
If we go on at this rate we shall be at the Pole in forty-five, 
or say fifty, months, and in ninety or one hundred months 
at 80° north latitude on the other side of it, with probably 
some prospect of getting out of the ice and home in a 
month or two more. At best, if things go on as they are 
doing now, we shall be home in eight years. I remember 
Brogger writing befon; I left, when I was planting small 
bushes and trees in the garden for future generations, 
that no one knew what length of shadows these trees 
would cast by the time I came back. Well, they are 
lying under the winter snow now, but in spring they will 
shoot and orrow a«;ain — hnw often.'' Oh! at times this 
inactivity crushes one's very soul ; one's life seems as 






dark as the winter night outside; there is sunh'ght upon 
no part of it except the past and the far, far distant future. 
I feel as if I must break through this deadness, this in- 
ertia, and find some outlet for my energies. Can't some- 
thnig happen ? Coukl not a hurricane come and tear up 
this ire, and set it rolHng in liigh waves like the open 
sea? A'elcomc danger, if it only brings us the chance 
of fighting for our lives — only lets us move onward! 
The miserable thing is lo be inactive onlookers, not to be 
able to lift a hand to help ourselves forward. It wants 
ten times more strength of mind to sit still and trust in 
your theories and let nature work them out without your 
being able so much as to lay one stick across another to 
help, than it does to trust in working them out by your 
own energ) — that is nothing when you have a pair of 
strong arms. Here I sit, whining like an old woman. 
Did I not know all this before I started? Things have 
not gone worse than I expected, but, ow the contrary, 
rather better. Where is now the serene hopefulness that 
spread itself in the daylight and the sun ? Where are 
those proud imaginings now that mounted like young 
eagles towards the brightness of the future? Like 
broken-winged, wet crows they leave the sunlit sea, and 
hide themselves in the misty marshes of despondency. 
Perhaps it will all come back again with the south wind ; 
but, no — I must go and rummage up one of the old phi- 
losophers again. 

" There is a little pressure this evening, and an ob- 








'- Ilia 

^ lis ill 10 



11:25 i 1.4 




X iivAu^ cipi Ji 



WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

(716) 872-4503 













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servation just taken seems to indicate a drift of 3' 

" 1 1 P.M. Pressure in the opening astern. The ice 
is cracking and squeezing against the ship, making it 

" Monday, February 19th. Once more it may be said 
that the night is darkest just before the dawn. Wind 
began to blow from the south to-day, and has reached a 
velocity of 13 feet per second. We did some ice-boring 
this morning, and found that the ice to port is 5 feet 
1 1| inches (1.875 metres) thick, with a layer of about 
\\ inches of snow over it. The ice forward was 6 feet 
7^ inches (2.08 metres) thick, but a couple of inches of 
this was snow. This cannot be called much growth for 
quite a month, when one thinks that the temperature has 
been down to 58° Fahr. below zero. 

" Both to-day and yesterday we have seen the mirage 
of the sun again ; to-day it was high above the horizon, 
and almost seemed to assume a round, disk-like form. 
Some of the others maintain that they have seen the 
upper edge of the sun itself ; Peter and Bentzen, that 
they have seen at least half of the disk, and Juell and 
Hansen declare that the whole of it was above the 
horizon. I am afraid it is so long since they saw it 
that they have forgotten what it is like. 

" Tuesday, February 20th. Great sun festival to-day 
without any sun. We felt certain we should see it, but 
there were clouds on the horizon, However, we were 



not going to be cheated out of our festival ; we can hold 
another on the occasion of really seeing it for the first 
time. We began with a grand rifle practice in the 
morning; then there was a dinner of three or four 
courses and ' Fram wine,' otherwise lime-juice, coffee 
afterwards with ^ Fram cake.' In the evening pineapple, 
cake, figs, bananas, and sweets. We go off to bed feel- 
ing that we have over-eaten ourselves, while half a gale 
from the S.E. is blowing us northward. The mill has 
been going to-day, and though the real sun did not come 
to the festival, our saloon sun lighted up our table 
both at dinner and supper. Great face-washing in honor 
of the day. The way we are laying on flesh is get- 
ting serious. Several of us are like prize pigs, and die 
bulge of cook Juell's cheeks, not to mention another 
part of his body, is quite alarming. I saw him in profile 
to-day, and wondered how he would ever manage to 
carry such a corporation over the ice if we should have 
to turn out one of these fine days. Must begin to think 
of a course of short rations now. 

"Wednesday, February 21st. The south wind con- 
tinues. Took up the bag-nets to-day which were put 
out the day before yesterday. In the upper one, which 
hung near the surface, there were chiefly amphipoda ; 
in Murray's net, which hung at about 50 fathoms' depth, 
there was a variety of small Crustacea and other small 
animals shining with such a strong phosphorescence that 
the contents of the net looked like glowing embers as I 

ft . 

1 'T 

^ ;l 







■"1: W 

^; ;1 


emptied them out in the cook's galley by lamplight 
To my astonishment the net- line pointed northwest, 
though from the wind there ought to be a good northerly 
drift. To clear this matter up I let the net down in 
the afternoon, and as soon as it got a little way under 
the ice the line pointed northwest again, and continued 
to do so the whole afternoon. How is this phenome- 
non to be explained } Can we, after all, be in a current 
moving northwest.? Let us hope that the future will 
prove such to be the case. We can reckon on two 
points of variation in the compass, and in that case the 
current would make due N.N.VV. There seems to be 
strong movement in the ice. It has opened and formed 
channels in several places. 

" Thursday, February 22d. The net-line has pointed 
west all day till now, afternoon, when it is pointing 
straight up and down, and we are presumably lying 
still. The wind slackened to-day till it was quite calm 
in tlie afternoon. Then there came a faint breeze from 
the southwest and from the west, and this evening the 
long-dreaded northwester has come at last. At 9 i'.m. 
it is blowing pretty hard from N.N.W. ... observa- 
tion of Capella taken in the afternoon would seem to 
show that we are in any case not farther north than 80° 
11', and this after ahnost four days' south wind. What- 
ever can be the meaning of this.? Is there dead-water 
under the ice, keeping it from going either forward or 
backward.? The ice to starboard cracked yesterday, 

..^A, ^. ■ ^..t^f^^iintu 



away beyond the bear-trap. The thickness of the soh'd 
floe was 1 1 A feet (345 metres), but, besides this, other 
ice was packed on to it below. Where it was broken 
across, the floe showed a marked stratified formation, 
recalHng the stratification of a glacier. Even the darker 
and dirtier strata were there, the color in this rase pro- 
duced by the brownish. red organisms that inhabit the 



water, specimens of which I found at an earlier date. 
In several places the strata were bent and broken, ex- 
actly in the same manner as the geological strata form- 
ing the earth's crust. This was evidently the result of 
the horizontal pressure in the ice at the time of pack- 
ing. It was especially noticeable at one place, near a 
huge mound formed during the last pressure. Here 




i ■ 


i m 


\ if 




the strata looked very much as they are represented in 
the annexed drawing.* 

It was extraordinary too to see how this floe of over 
three yards in thickness was bent into great waves vvitii- 
out breaking. This was clearly done by pressure, and 
was specially noticeable, more particularly near the press- 
ure-ridges, which had forced the floe down so that its 
upper surface lay even with the water-line, while at 
other places it was a good half-yard above it, in these 
last cases thrust up by ice pressed in below. It all 
shows how extremely plastic these floes are, in spite of 
the cold; the temperature of the ice near the surface 
must have been from 4° Fahr. to 22° Fahr. below zero 
(-20° to -30° C.) at the time of these pressures. In 
many places the bending had been too violent, and the 
floe had cracked. The cracks were often covered with 
loose ice, so that one could easily enough fall into them, 
just as in crossing a dangerous glacier. 

" Saturday, February 24th. Observations to-day show 
us to be in 79° 54' north latitude, 132' 57' east longitude. 
Strange that we should have come so far south when the 
north or northwest wind only blew for twenty-four hours. 

"Sunday, February 25th. It looks as if the ice were 
drifting eastward now. Oh! I see pictures of summer 
and green trees and rippling streams. I am readinc^ of 
valley and mountain life, and I grow sick at heart and 

* In spite of this bending of tiie strata, the surface of the ice and snow 
remained even. 

■'"j»-»^'"»FW>f Afxitmmism^taim 



enervated. Why dwell on such things just now? It will 
be many a long day before we can see all that again. 
We are going at the miserable pace of a snail, but not 
so surely as it goes. We carry our house with us ; but 
what we do one day is undone the next. 

" Monday, February 26th. We are drifting northeast. 
A tremendous snow-storm is going on. The wind has at 
times a velocity of over 35 feet per second; it is howling 
in the rigging, whistling over the ice, and the snow is 
drifting so badly that a man might be lost in it quite 
near at hand. We are sitting here listening to the howl- 
ing in the chimney and in the ventilators, just as if we 
were sitting in a house at home in Norway. The wincrg 
of the windmill have been going round at such a rate 
that you could hardly distinguish them ; but we have had 
to stop the mill this evening because the accumulators 
are full, and we fastened up the wings so that the wind 
might not destroy them. We have had electric light for 
almost a week now. 

" This is the strongest wind we have had the whole 
winter. If anything can shake up the ice and drive us 
north, this must do it. Hut the barometer is falling too 
fast; there will be north wind again presently. Hope 
has been disappointed too often; it is no longer elastic; 
and the gale makes no great impression on me. I look 
forward to spring and summer, in suspense as to what 
change they will bring. Hut the Arctic night, the dread- 
ed Arctic night, is over, and we have daylicvht once ao-ain 


t: ii ; 







i : 

I must say tliat I sec no appearance of the sunken, 
wasted faces which this night ought to have produced; 
in the clearest dayh'ght and the brightest sunshine I can 
only discover plump, comfortable -looking ones. It is 
curious enough, though, about the light. We used to 
think it was like real day down here when the incan- 
descent lamps were burning ; but now, coming down 
from the day'ight, though they may be all lit, it is like 
coming into a cellar. When the arc lamp has been 
burning all day, as it has to-day, and is then put out and 
its place supplied by the incandescent ones, the effect is 
much the same. 

"Tuesday, February 27th. Drifting E.S.E. My 
pessimism is justified. A strong west wind has blown 
almost all day; the barometer is low, but has begun to 
rise unsteadily. The temperature is the highest we have 
had all winter; to-dav's maximum is is Fahr. above zero 
(-9.7' C). At S P.M. the thermometer stood at 7' Fahr. 
below zero (-22° C). The temperature ri::, \s and falls 
almost exactly conversely with the barometer. This after- 
noon's observation places us in about 80° 10' north lati- 

" Wednesday, February 28th. Beautiful weather to- 
day, almost still, and temperature only about 15" Fahr. to 
22 Fahr. below zero (—26° to —30° 5' C). There were 
clouds in the south, so that not much was to be seen 
of the sun ; but it is light wonderfully long already. 
Sverdrup and I went snow-shoeing after dinner — the 



first time this year that \vc have been able to do 
anything of the kind in the afternoon. We made at- 
tempts to pump yesterday and to-day; there ought to 
be a little water, but the pump would not suck, though 
we tried both warm water and salt. Possibly there is 
water frozen round it, and possibly there is no water at 
all. In the engine-room there has been no appearance 
of water for more than a month, and none comes into 
the forehold, especially now that the bow is raised up by 
the pack-ice; so if there is any it can only be a little 
in the hold. This tightening may be attributed chietiy 
to the frost. 

" The wind has begun to blow again from the S.S.W. 
this evening, and the barometer is falling, which ought 
to mean good wind coming; but the barometer of hojDe 
does not rise above its normal height. I had a bath this 
evening in a tin tub in the galley; trimmed and clean, 
one feels more of a human beincr. 

"Thursday, March ist. We are lying almost still. 
Beautiful mild weather, only 2. I' Fahr. below zero (-19' 
C), sky overcast; light fall of snow, and light wind. We 
made attempts to sound to-dav, having lengthened our 
hemp line with a single strand of steel. This broke off 
with the lead. We put on a new lead and the whole line 
ran out, about 2000 fathoms, without touching bottom, 
so far as we could make out. In process of hauling in, 
the steel line broke again. So the results are: no bot- 
tom, and two sounding-leads, each of 100 pounds' weight, 


V i 



making their way clown. Goodness knows if they have 
reached the bottom yet. I declare I feel inclined to be- 
lieve that Bentzcn is right, and that it is the hole at the 
earth's axis we are trying to sDund, 

" Friday, March 2d. The pups have lived until now 
in the chart-room, and have done all the mischief there 
that they could, gnawing the cases of Hansen's instru- 
ments, the log-books, etc. They were taken out on deck 
yesterday for the first time, and to-day they have been 
there all the morning. They are of an inquiring turn of 
mind, and examine everything, being specially interest- 
ed in the interiors of all the kennels in this new, large 

■ Sunday, March 4th. The drift is still strong south. 
There is northwesterly wind to-day again, but not quite 
so much of it. I expected we had come a long way 
south, but yesterday's observation still showed 79° 54' 
north latitude. We must have drifted a good way north 
during the last days before this wind came. The weather 
yesterday and to-day has been bitter, 35" Fahr. and 36.1° 
Fahr. below zero (-37' and -38" C), with sometimes as 
much as 35 feet of wind per second, must be called cool. 
It is curious that now the northerly winds bring cold, and 
the southerly warmth. Earlier in the winter it was just 
the opposite. 

" Monday, March 5th. Sverdrup and I have been a 
long way northeast on snow-shoes. The ice was in good 
condition for it; the wind has tossed about the snow 




finely, covering over the pressure - ridge as far as the 
scanty supply of material has permitted. 

" Tuesday, March 6th. No drift at all. It has been 
a bitter day to-day, 47^ Fahr. to 50 Fahr. below zero 
(-44" to -46" C), and wind up to 19 feet. This has 
been a good occasion for getting hands and face frost- 
bitten, and one or two have taken advantage of it. 
Steady northwest wind. 1 am beginning to get indif- 
ferent and stolid as far as the wind is concerned. I 
photographed Johansen to-day at the anemometer, and 
during the process his nose was frost-bitten. 

''There has been a general weighing this evening 
again. These weighings are considered very interesting 
performances, and we stand watching in suspense to see 
whether each man has gained or lost. Most of them 
have lost a little this time. Can it be because we have 
stopped drinking beer and begun lime-juice? But Juell 
goes on indefatigably— he has gained nearly a pound 
this time. Our doctor generally does very well in this 
line too, but to-day it is only 10 ounces. In other ways 
he is badly off on board, poor fellow— not a soul will turn 
ill. In despair he set up a headache yesterday himself, 
but he could not make it last over the night. Of late 
he has taken to studying the diseases of dogs ; perhaps 
he may find a more profitable practice in this depart- 

"Thursday, March 8th. Drifting south. Sverdrup 
and I had a good snow-shoeing tri]) to-day, to the north 

% m 







' ii 


and west. The snow was in sj)Iencli(l condition ;iftcr the 
winds; you fly alonL; h"kc thistledown before a breeze, and 
can get about everywhere, even over the worst pressure- 
mounds. The weather was beautiful, temperature only 
38^^ Fahr. below zero (-39" C.) ; but this evening it is 
quite bitter again, 55 Fahr. (-4.S.5 C) and from 16 to 
26 feet of wind. It is by no means pleasant work stand- 
ing up on the windmill, reefing or taking in the sails; it 
means aching nails, and sometimes frost-bitten cheeks; 
but it has to be done, and it is done. There is plenty of 
'mill-wind' in the daytime now— this is the third week 
we have had electric light — but it is wretched that it 
should be always this north and northwest wind ; good- 
ness only knows when it is going to stop. Can there 
be land north of us.? We are drifting badly south. It is 
hard to keep one's faith alive. There is nothing for it 
but to wait and see what time will do. 

" After a long rest the ship got a shake this afternoon. 
I went on deck. Pressure was going on in an opening 
just in front of the bow. We might almost have expected 
it just now, as it is new moon ; only we have got out of 
the way of thinking at all about the spring tides, as they 
have had so little effect lately. They should of course 
be specially strong just now, as the equinox is approach- 


"Friday, March 9th. The net -line pointed slightly 
southwest this morning; but the line attached to a 
cheese which was only hanging a few fathoms below the 

■ --^- *■ -fj-^iftiiA-rft --,■ 

[From a /i/iotof^m/i/,) 





,.ir ■ ■■ '■ 


' -^u> 

.1 k 





ice to thaw faster, seemed to point in the opposite di- 
rection. Had we got a southerly current together with 
the wind now? H'm! in that case something must 
come of it ! Or was it, perhaps, only the tide setting 
that way? 

" Still the same northerly wind ; we are steadily bear- 
ing south. This, then, is the change I hoped the March 
equinox would bring! We have been having northerly 
winds for more than a fortnight. I cannot conceal from 
myself any longer that I am beginning to despond. 
Quietly and slowly, but m.ercilessly, one hope after the 
other is being crushed and . . . have I not a right to be 
a little despondent? I long unutterably after home, per- 
haps I am drifting away farther from it, perhaps nearer; 
but anyhow it is not cheering to see the realization of 
one's plans again and again delayed, if not annihilated 
altogether, in this tedious and monotonously killing way. 
Nature goes her age-old round impassively; summer 
changes into winter; spring vanishes away; autumn 
comes, and finds us still a mere chaotic whirl of dar- 
ing projects and shattered hopes. As the wheel re- 
volves, r \ die one and now the other comes to the top 
— but niL iiory bet'veenwhiles li^jhtly touches her rinoin<'- 
silver chords — now loud like a roaring waterfall, now- 
low and soft like far off sweet music. I stand and look 
out ov-ei this desolate expanse of ice with its plains and 
heights and valleys, formed by the pressure arising from 
the shiftin- tidal currents of winter. The sun is now 











If ' 



; ! ■ 


j ' 



shining over them with his cheering beams. In the 
middle h'es the Fram, hemmed in immovably. When, 
my proud ship, will you float free in the open water 

again } 

" ' Ich schau dich an, und Wehmuth, 
Schleicht mir in's Herz hinein." 

Over these masses of ice, drifting by paths unknown, a 
human pondered and brooded so long that he put a 
whole people in motion to enable him to force his way in 
among them - a people who had plenty of other claims 
upon their energies. For what purpose all this to-do.? 
If only the calculations were correct these ice-floes 
would be glorious — nay, irresistible auxiliaries. But if 
there has been an error in the calculation— well, in that 
case they are not so pleasant to deal with. And how 
often does a calculation come out correct.? But were I 
now free ? \\1iy, I should do it all over again, from the 
same starting-point. One must persevere till one learns 
to calculate correctly. 

" I laugh at the scurvy ; no sanatorium better than 

" I laugh at the ice; we are living as it were in an im- 
pregnable castle. 

" I laugh at the cold ; it is nothing. 

"But I do not laugh at the winds; they are every, 
thing; they bend to no man's will. 

" But why a) ways worry about the future ? Why dis- 
tress yourself as to whether you drifting forward or 



backward ? Why not carelessly let the days glide by 
like a peacefully flowing river? every now and then there 
will come a rapid that will quicken the lazy flow. Ah ! 
what a wondrous contrivance is life — one eternal hurry- 
ing forward, ever forward — to what end ? And then 
comes death and cuts all short before the goal is reached. 

" I went a long snow-shoe tour to-day. A litde way 
to the north there were a good many newly formed lanes 
and pressure-ridges which were hard to cross, but patience 
overcomes everything, and I soon reached a level plain 
where it was delightful going. It was, however, rather 
cold, about 54° Fahr. below zero ( — 48° C.) and 16 feet of 
wind from N.N.E., but I did not feel it much. It is 
wholesome and enjoyable to be out in such weather. I 
wore only ordinary clothes, such as I might wear at home, 
with a sealskin jacket and linen outside breeches, and a 
half-mask to protect the forehead, nose, and cheeks. 

"There has been a good deal of ice -pressure in 
different directions to-day. Oddly enough, a meridian 
altitude of the sun gave 79' 45'. We have therefore 
drifted only 8' southward during the four days since 
March 4th. This slow drift is remarkable in spite of 
the high winds. If there should be land to the north t 
I begin more and more to speculate on this possibility. 
Land to the north would explain at once our not pro- 
gressing northward, and the slowness of our southward 
drift. But it may also possibly arise from the fact of the 
ice being so closely packed together, and frozen so thick 


s n 

I ' H 





|i ■ . 

I , I 

and massive. It seems strange to me that there is so 
much northwest wind, and hardly any from the northeast, 
though the latter is what the rotation of the earth would 
lead one to expect. As a matter of fact, the wind merely 
shifts between northwest and southeast, instead of be- 
tween southwest and northeast, as it ought to do. Unless 
there is land I am at a loss to find a satisfactory expla- 
nation, at all events, of this northwest direction. Does 
Franz Josef Land jut out eastward or northward, or does 
a continuous line of islands extend from Franz Josef 
Land in one or other of those directions.? It is by no 
means impossible. Directly the Austrians o-ot far enough 
to the north they met with prevailing winds from the 
northeast, while we get northwesterly winds. Does the 
central point of these masses of land lie to the north, 
midway between our meridian and theirs ? I can hardly 
believe that these remarkably cold winds from the north 
are engendered by merely passing over an ice -covered 
sea. If, indeed, there is land, and we get hold of it, then 
all our troubles would be over. Hut no one can tell what 
the futuic may bring forth, and it is better, perhaps, not 
to know. 

"Saturday, March loth. The line shows a drift 
northward; now, too, in the afternoon, a slight southerly 
breeze has sprung up. .As usual, it has done me good to 
put my despondency on paper and get rid of it. To-day 
I am in good spirits again, and can indulge in happy 
dreams of a large and high land in the north with moun- 



tains and valleys, where we can sit under the mountain 
wall, roast ourselves in the sun, and see the spring come. 
And over its inland ice we can make our way to the very 

"Sunday, March nth. A snow-shoe run northward. 
Temperature -50" C. (58° Ivihr. below zero), and 10 feet 
wind from N.N.I^. We did not feel the cold very much, 
thouo-h it was rather bad for the stomach and thighs, as 
none of us had our wind trousers* on. We wore our usu- 
al dress of a j)air of ordinary trousers and woollen pants, 
a shirt, and wolfskin cloak, or a common woollen suit 
with a light sealskin jacket over it. For the first time in 
my life I felt my thighs frozen, especially just over the 
knee, and on the kneecap ; my companions also suffered 
in the same way. This was after going a long while 
against the wind. We rubbed our legs a little, and they 
soon got warm again; but had we kept on much longer 
without noticing it we should probably have been se- 
verely frost-bitten. In other respects we did not suffer 
the least inconvenience from the cold on the contrary^ 
found the temperature agreeable; and I am convinced 
that \o\ 20", or even 30' lower would not have been 
unendurable. It is strange how one's sensations alter. 
When at home, I find it unpleasant if I only go out-of- 
doors when there are some 20 degrees of cold, even in 
calm weather. But here I don't find it any colder when 

* So we callef] some liglit trousers of tiiiii close cotton, which wc used 
as a protection against the wind and snow. 

! I 


J 1 





t 1' 






li. i> 



I turn out in 50 degrees of cold, with a wind into the 
bargain. Sitting in a warm room at home one gets ex- 
aggerated ideas about the terribleness of the cold. It is 
really not in the least terrible ; we all of us find ourselves 
very well in it, though sometimes one or another of us does 
not take quite so long a walk as usual when a strong 
wind is blowing, and will even turn back for the cold ; 
but that is when he is only lightly clad and has no wind 
clothes on. This evening it is 51.2° Fahr. below zero, 
and 14A feet N.N.E. wind. Brilliant northern lights in 
the south. Already there is a very marked twilight even 
at midnight. 

" Monday, March 1 2th. Slowly drifting southward. 
Took a long snow-shoe run alone, towards the north ; 
to-day had on my wind breeches, but found them almost 
too warm. This morning it was 51.6° Fahr. below zero, 
and about 13 feet N. wind; at noon it was some degrees 
warmer. Ugh ! this north wind is freshening ; the barom- 
eter has risen again, and I had thought the wind would 
have changed, but it is and remains the same. 

" This is what March brings us — the month on which 
my hopes relied. Now I must wait for the summer. 
Soon the half-year will be past, it will leave us about in 
the same place as when it began. Ugh! I am weary — 
so weary ! Let me sleep, sleep ! Come, sleep ! noise- 
lessly close the door of the soul, stay the flowing stream 
of thought! Come dreams, and let the sun beam over 
the snowless strand of Godthaab ! 



"Wednesday, March 14th. In the evening the dogs 
all at once began to bark, as we supposed on account of 
bears. Sverdrup and I took our guns, let ' Ulenka' and 
'Pan' loose, and set off. There was twilight still, and 
the moon, moreover, began to shine. No sooner were 
the dogs on the ice than off they started westward like a 
couple of rockets, we after them as quickly as we could. 
As I was jumping over a lane I thrust one leg through 
the ice up to the knee. Oddly enough, I did not get wet 
through to the skin, though I only had Finn shoes and 
frieze gaiters on ; but in this temperature, 38° Fahr. below 
zero (-39° C), the water freezes on the cold cloth be- 
fore it can penetrate it. I felt nothing of it afterwards ; it 
became, as it were, a plate of ice armor that almost helped 
to keep me v.arm. At a channel some distance off we 
at last discovered that it was not a bear the dogs had 
winded, but either a walrus or a seal. We saw holes in 
several places on the fresh-formed ice where it had stuck 
its head through. What a wonderfully keen nose those 
dogs must have: it was quite two-thirds of a mile from 
the ship, and the creature had only had just a little bit 
of its snout above the ice. We returned to the ship to 
get a harpoon, but saw no more of the animal, though 
we went several times up and down the channel. 
Meanwhile ' Pan,' in his zeal, got too near the edge of 
the lane and fell into the water. The ice was so\igh 
that he could not get up on it again without help, and if 
I had not been there to haul him up I am afraid he 

' <1 




would have been drowned. He is now lying in the 
saloon, and making himself comfortable and drying 
himself. But he, too, did not get wet through to the 
skin, though he was a good time in the water: the inner 
hair of his close, coarse coat is quite dry and warm. 


(By A. Block, fyom a Photograph) 

The dogs look on it as a high treat to come in here, 
for they are not often allowed to do so. They go 
round all the cabins and look out for a comfortable 
corner to lie down in. 

" Lovely weather, almost calm, sparklingly bright, and 




moonshine : in the north the faint flush of evening, and 
the aurora over the southern sky, now like a row of 
flaming spears, then changing into a silvery veil, un- 
dulating in wavy folds with the wind, every here and 
there interspersed with red sprays. These wonderful 
night effects are ever new, and never fail to captivate 
the soul." 

" Thursday, March 15th. This morning 41.7°, and at 
8 P.M. 40.7° Fahr. below zero, while the daytime was rath- 
er warmer. At noon it was 40.5^ and at 4 p.m. 39° Fahr. 
below zero. It would almost seem as if the sun began 
to have power. 

•' The dogs are strange creatures. This evening they 
are probably sweltering in their kennels again, for four 
or five of them are lying outside or on the roof. When 
there are 50 degrees of cold most of them huddle together 
inside, and lie as close to one another as possible. Then, 
too, they are very loath to go out for a walk; they prefer 
to lie in the sun under the lee of the ship. But now 
they find it so mild and such pleasant walking that to-day 
it was not difficult to get them to follow. 

"Friday, March i6th. Sverdrup has of late been 
occupied in making sails for the ship's boats. To-day 
there was a light southwesterly breeze, so we tried one 
of the sails on two hand-sledges lashed together. It is 
first-rate sailing, and does not require much wind to 
make them glide along. This would be a great assist- 
ance if we had to go home over the ice. 







:. .\ 

"Wednesday, March 21st. At length a reaction has 
set in : the wind is S.E. and there is a strong drift north- 
ward again. The equinox is past, and we are not one 
degree farther north since the last equinox. I wonder 
where the next will find us. Should it be more to the 
south, then victory is uncertain ; if more to the north, the 
battle is won, though it may last long. I am looking 
forward to the summer; it must bring a change with it. 
The open water we sailed in up here cannot possibly be 
produced by the melting of the ice alone; it must be also 
due to the winds and current. And if the ice in which 
we are now drifts so far to the north as to make room 
for all this open water, we shall have covered a jiood 
bit on our way. It would seem, indeed, as if summer 
must bring northerly winds, with the cold Arctic Sea in 
the north and warm Siberia in the south. This makes 
me somewhat dubious ; but, on the other hand, we have 
warm seas in the west: they may be stronger; and the 
Jeanncttc, moreover, drifted northwest. 

" It is strange that, notwithstanding these westerly 
winds, we do not drift eastward. The last longitude was 
only 135° east longitude. 

" Maundy Thursday, March 2 2d. A strong south- 
easterly wind still, and a good drift northward. Our 
spirits are rising. The wind whistles throuuh the rio-crino- 
overhead, and sounds like the sough of victory through 
the air. In the forenoon one of the puppies had a severe 
attack of convulsions; it foamed at the mouth and bit 





furiously at everything round it. It ended with tetanus, 
and we carried it out and laid it down on the ice. It 
hopped about like a toad, its legs stiff and extended, 
neck and head pointing upward, while its back was 
curved like a saddle. I was afraid it might be hydropho- 
bia or some other infectious sickness, and sho. it on the 



{/■'■•'III :l rluHO!;r.i/'li) 







spot. Perhaps I was rather too hasty; we can scarcely 
have any infection among us now. Hut what could it 
have been.? Was it an epileptic attack ? The other day 
one of the other puppies alarmed me by running round 
and round in the chart-house as if it were mad, hiding 
itself after a time between a chest and the wall. Some 
of the others, too, had seen it do the same thing; but 
after a while it got all right again, and for the last few 
days there has been nothing amiss with it. 

" Good Friday, March 23d. Noonday observation 
gives 80" north latitude. In four days and nights we 
have drifted as far north as we drifted southward in 
three weeks. It is a comfort, at all events, to know that ! 
" It is remarkable how quickly the nights have grown 
light. Even stars of the first magnitude can now barely 
manage to twinkle in the pale sky at midnight. 

"Saturday, March 24th. Easter Eve. To-day a 
notable event has occurred. We have allowed the light 
of spring to enter the saloon. During the whole of the 
winter the skylight was covered with snow to keep the 
cold out, and the dogs' kennels, moreover, had been 
placed round it. Now we have thrown out all the snow 
upon the ice, and the panes of glass in the skylight have 
been duly cleared and cleaned. 

" Monday, March 26th. We are lying motionless— no 
drift. How long will this last.? Last equinox how proud 
and triumphant I was ! The whole world looked bright ; 
but now I am proud nc longer. 



" The sun mounts up and bathuh the ite-plain with its 
radiance. Spring is coming, but brings no joys with it. 
Here it is as lonely and cold as evtr. One's soul freezes. 
Seven more years of such life— or say only four— how 
will the soul appear then ? And she ... ? If I dared to 
let my longings loose— to let my soul thaw. Ah ! I long 
more than 1 dare confess. 

" I have not courage to think of the future And 

how will It be at home, when year after year rolls by and 
no one comes ? 

" I know this is all a morbid mood ; but still this 
inactive, lifeless monotony, without any change, wrings 
one's very soul. No struggle, no possibility of struggle ! 
All is so still and dead, so stiff and shrunken, under 
the mantle of ice. Ah ! . . . the very soul freezes. What 
would I not give for a single day of struggle— for even a 
moment of danger ! 

" Still I must wait, and watch the drift; but should it 
take a wrong direction, then I will break all the bridges 
behind me, and stake everything on a northward march 
over the ice. I know nothing better to do. It will be a 
hazardous journey— a matter, maybe, of life or death. But 
have I any other choice } 

" It is unworthy of a man to set himself a task, and 
tlen give in when the brunt of the battle is upon him. 
There is but one way, and that is /V^w— forward. 

"Tuesday, March 27th. We are again drifting 
southward, and the wind is northerly. The midday ob- 


I :' 





N , 


1 \ 


servation showed 80° 4' north latitude. But why so dis- 
pirited ? I am staring myself blind at one single point- 
am. thinking solely of reaching the Pole and forcing our 
way through to the Atlantic Ocean. And all the time 
our real task is to explore the unknown po^ar reoions. 
Are we doing nothing in the service of science? It will 
be a goodly collection of observations that we shall take 
home with us from this region, with which we are now 
rather too well acquainted. The rest is, and remains, a 
mere matter of vanity. ' Love truth more, and victory 

" I look at Eilif Peterssen's picture, a Norwegian pine 
forest, and I am there in spirit. How marvellously 
lovely it is there now, in the spring, in the dim, melan- 
choly stillness that reigns among the stately stems ! I 
can feel the damp moss in which my foot sinks softly and 
noiselessly ; the brook, released from the winter bondage, 
is murmuring through the clefts and among the rocks, 
with its brownish-yellow water; the air is full of the scent 
of moss and pine-needles; while overhead, against the 
light-blue sky, the dark pine-tops rock to and fro in the 
spring breeze, ever uttering their murmuring wail, and 
beneath their shelter the soul fearlessly expands its wings 
and cools itself in the forest dew. 

" O solemn pine forest, the only confidant of my child- 
hood, it was from you I learned nature's deepest tones — 
its wildness, its melancholy! You colored my soul for life. 

"Alone — far in the forest- 

-beside the glowing embers 

1:4 i' 


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(h'rotii 11 /<hotof;rafh) 


J ;.;y 


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of my fire on the shore of the silent, murky woodland 
tarn, with the gloom of night overhead, how happy I used 
to be in the enjoyment of nature's harmony ! 

"Thursday, March 29th. It is wonderful what a 
change it makes to have daylight once more in the sa- 
loon. On turning out for breakfast and seeing the light 
gleaming in, one feels that it really is morning. 

" We are busy on board. Sails are being made for the 
boats and hand-sledges. The windmill, too, is to have 
fresh sails, so that it can go in any kind of weather. Ah, 
if we could but give the Fram wings as well ! Knives' 
are being forged, bear-spears which we never have any 
use for, bear-traps in which we never catch a bear, axes, 
and many other things of like usefulness. For the mo- 
ment there is a great manufacture of wooden shoes going 
on, and a newly started nail-making industry. The only 
shareholders in this company are Sverdrup and Smith 
Lars, called ' Storm King,' because he always comes upon 
us like hard weather. The output is excellent and is in 
active demand, as all our small nails for the hand-sledge 
fittings have been used. Moreover, we are very busy 
putting German-silver plates under the runners of the 
hand-sledges, and providing appliances for lashing sledges 
together. There is, moreover, a workshop for snow-shoe 
fastenings, and a tinsmith's shop, busied for the moment 
with repairs to the lamps. Our doctor, too, for lack of 
patients, has set up a bookbinding establishment which is 
greatly patronized by the Fram's library, whereof several 

J ill 




1 ' vvtik 

■ ' p '9fl 




books that are in constant circulation, such as Gjest 
Baardsens Liv og Levnet, etc., are in a very bad state. 
We have also a saddlers' and sail-makers' workshop, a pho- 
tographic studio, etc. The manufacture of diaries, how- 
ever, is the most extensive — every man on board works at 
that. In fine, there is nothing between heaven and earth 
that we cannot turn out— excepting constant fair winds. 

" Our workshops can be highly recommended; they 
turn out good solid work. We have lately had a notable 
addition to our industries, the firm ' Nansen & Amund- 
sen ' having established a music-factory. The cardboard 
plates of the organ had suffered greatly from wear and 
damp, so that we had been deplorably short of music dur- 
ing the winter. But yesterday I set to work in earnest 
to manufacture a plate of zinc. It answers admirably, 
and now we shall go ahead with music sacred and pro- 
fane, especially waltzes, and these halls shall once more 
resound with the pealing tones of the organ, to our great 
comfort and edification. When a waltz is struck up it 
breathes fresh life into many of the inmates of the Fratn. 
"I complain of the wearing monotony of our sur- 
roundings; but in reality I am unjust. The last few 
days, dazzling sunshine over the snow-hills; to-day, snow- 
storm and wind, the Fram enveloped in a whirl of foam- 
ing white snow. Soon the sun appears again, and the 
waste around gleams as before. 

" Here, too, there is sentiment in nature. How often, 
when least thinking of it, do I find myself pause, spell- 

f; i 















|: h 






: m 



' 1, ifm 

It ' I 




bound by the marvellous hues which evening wears. 
The ice -hills steeped in bluish -violet shadows, against 
the orange - tinted sky, illumined by the glow of the 
setting sun, form as it were a strange color -poem, 
imprinting an ineffaceable picture on the soul. And 
these bright, dream -like nights, how many associations 
they have for us Northmen ! One pictures to one's self 
those mornings in spring when one went out into the 
forest after blackcock, under the dim stars, and with the 
pale crescent moon peering over the tree-tops. Dawn, 
with its glowing hues up here in the north, is the breaking 
of a spring day over the forest wilds at home ; the hazy 
blue vapor beneath the morning glow turns to the fresh 
early mist over the marshes ; the dark low clouds on a 
background of dim red seem like distant ranges of hills. 

"Daylight here, with its rigid, lifeless whiteness, has no 
attractions; but the evening and night thaw the heart of 
this world of ice ; it dreams mournful dreams, and you 
seem to hear in the hues of the evening sounds of its 
smothered wail. Soon these will cease, and the sun will 
circle round the everlasting light-blue expanse of heaven, 
imparting one uniform color to day and night alike. 

" Friday, April 6th. A remarkable event was to take 
place to-day which, naturally, we all looked forward to 
with lively interest. It was an eclipse of the sun. During 
the night Hansen had made a calculation that the eclipse 
would begin at 12.56 o'clock. It was important for us to 
be able to get a good observation, as we should thus be 



■ , 'Mi 




X-i '' 

J! 1 

able to regulate our chronometers to a nicety. In order 
to make everything sure, we set up our instruments a 
couple of hours beforehand, and commenced to observe. 
We used the large telescope and our large theodolite. 
Hansen, Johansen, and myself took it by turns to sit for 
five minutes each at the instruments, watching the rim of 
the sun, as we expected a shadow would become visible 
on its lower western edge, while another stood by with 
the watch. We remained thus full two hours without 
anything occurring. The exciting moment was now at 
hand, when, according to calculation, the shadow should 
first be apparent. Hansen was sitting by the large tele- 
scope when he thought he could discern a quavering 
in the sun's rim; 2>Z seconds afterwards he cried out, 
'Now!' as did Johansen simultaneously. The watch 
was then at 12 hrs. 56 min. 7.5 sec. A dark body ad- 
vanced over the border of the sun ^\ seconds later than 
we had calculated on. It was an immense satisfaction 
for us all, especially for Hansen, for it proved our chro- 
nometers to be in excellent order. Little by little the 
sunlight sensibly faded away, while we went below to 
dinner. At 2 o'clock the eclipse was at its height, and 
we could notice even down in the saloon how the day- 
light had diminished. After dinner we observed the 
moment when the eclipse ended, and the moon's dark 
disk cleared the rim of the sun. 

" Sunday, April 8th. I was lying awake yesterday 
morning thinking about getting up, when all at once I 
















! < 





;-V. '?| 




k ' 








heard the hurried footsteps of some one running over 
the half -deck above me, and then another followed. 
There was something in those footsteps that involun- 
tarily made me think of bears, and I had a hazy sort of 
an idea that I ought to jump up out of bed, but I lay 
still, listening for the report of a gun. I heard nothing, 
hovv'ever, and soon fell a -dreaming again. Presently 
Johansen came tearing down into the saloon, crying out 
that a couple of bears were lying half or quite dead 
on the large ice hummock astern of the ship. He and 
Mogstad had shot at them, but they had no more car- 
tridges left. Several of the men seized hold of their guns 
and hurried up. I threw on my clothes and came up 
a little after, when I gathered that the bears had taken 
to flight, as I could see the other fellows following them 
over the ice. As I was putting on my snow-shoes they 
returned, and said that the bears had made off. How- 
ever, I started after them as fast as my snow-shoes would 
take me across the floes and the pressure-ridges. I soon 
got on their tracks, which at first were a little blood- 
stained. It was a she-bear, with her cub, and, as I be- 
lieved, hard hit — the she-bear had fallen down several 
times after Johansen's first bullet. I thought, therefore, 
it would be no difficult matter to overtake them. Several 
of the dogs were on ahead of me on their tracks. They 
had taken a northwesterly course, and I toiled on, perspir- 
ing profusely in the sun, while the ship sank deeper and 
deeper down below the horizon. The surface of the snow, 



• 41 







sparkling with its eternal whiteness all around me, tried 
my eyes severely, and I seemed to get no nearer the 
bears. My i)rosi)ects of coming up with them were 
ruined by the dogs, who were keen enough to frighten 
the bears, but not so keen as to press on and bring them 
to bay. I would not, however, give up. Presently a fog 
came on and hid everything from view except the bear- 
tracks, which steadily pointed forward; then it lifted, 
and the sun shone out again clear and bright as before. 
The Fram's masts had long since disappeared over the 
edge of the ice, but still I kept on. Presently, however, I 
began to feel faint and hungry, for in my hurry I had not 
even har' my breakfast, and at last had to bite the sour 
apple and turn back without any bears. 

" On my way I came across a remarkable hummock. 
It was over 20 feet in height (I could not manage to 
measure it quite to the top) ; the middle part had fallen 
in, probably from pressure of the ice, while the remaining 
part formed a magnificent triumphal arch of the whitest 
marble, on which the sun glittered with all its brilliancy. 
Was it erected to celebrate my defeat .? I got up on it 
to look out for the Fram, but had to go some distance 
yet before I could see her rigging over the horizon. It 
was not till half-past five in the afternoon that I found 
myself on board again, worn out and famished from this 
sudden and unexpected excursion. After a day's fasting 
I heartily relished a good meal. During my absence 
some of the others had started after me with a sledt^-e to 

1 > ■ ii 



draw home the dead bears that I had shot; but they had 
barely reached the spot where the encounter had taken 
|)Iace, when Johansen and lilessint;, who were in advance 
of the others, saw two fresh bears spring up from behind 
a hummock a Httle way off. lUit before they could i;et 
their guns in readiness the bears were out of range ; so a 
new hunt began. Johansen tore after them in his snow- 
shoes, but several of the dogs got in front of him and 
kept the bears going, so that he could not get within 
range, and his chase ended as fruitlessly as mine. 

" Has good-luck abandoned us? I had plumed myself 
on our never having shot at a single bear without bag- 
ging it; but to-day. . .! Odd that we should get a visit 
from four bears on one day, after having seen nothing of 
them for three months! Does it signify something? 
Have we got near the land in the northwest which I have 
so long expected ? There seems to be change in the air. 
An observation the day before yesterday gave 80' 15' 
north latitude, the most northerly we have had yet. 

"Sunday, April 15th. So we are in the middle of 
April ! What a ring of joy in that word, a well-spring of 
happiness! Visions of spring rise up in the soul at its 
very mention — a time when doors and windows are 
thrown wide open to the spring air and sun, and the 
dust of winter is blown away; a time when one can no 
longer sit still, but must perforce go out-of-doors to 
inhale the perfume of wood and field and fresh - dug 
earth, and behold the fjord, free from ice, sparkling 

I I' { 






in the sunlight. What an inexhaustible fund of the 
awakening joys of nature does that word April contain ! 
But here — here that is not to be found. True, the sun 
shines long and bright, but its beams fall not on forest 
or mountain or meadow, but only on the dazzling white- 
ness of the fresh-fallen snow. Scarcely does it entice one 
out from one's winter retreat. This is not the time of 
revolutions here. If they come at all, they will come 
much later. The days roll on uniformly and monoto- 
nously; here I sit, and feel no touch of the restless long- 
ings of the spring, and shut myself up in the snail-shell of 
my studies. Day after day I dive down into the world 
of the microscope, forgetful of time and surroundings. 
Now and then, indeed, I may make a little excursion 
from darkness to light — the daylight beams around 
me, and my soul opens a tiny loophole for light and 
courage to enter in — and then down, down into the 
darkness, and to work once more. Before turning in 
for the night I must go on deck. A little while ago 
the daylight would by this time have vanished, a few 
solitary stars would have been faintly twinkling, while 
the pale moon shone over the ice. But now even this 
has come to an end. The sun no longer sinks beneath 
the icy horizon ; it is continual day. I gaze into the far 
distance, far over the barren plain of snow, a boundless, 
silent, and lifeless mass of ice in imperceptible motion. 
No sound can be heard save the faint murmur of the air 
through the rigging, or perhaps far away the low rumble 



of packing ice. In the midst of this empty waste of white 
there is but one little dark spot, and that is the Fram. 

" But beneath this crust, hundreds of fathoms down, 
there teems a world of checkered life in all its changing 
forms, a world of the same composition as ours, with the 
same instincts, the same sorrows, and also, no doubt, the 
same joys ; everywhere the same struggle for existence. 
So it ever is. If we penetrate within even the hardest 
shell we come upon the pulsations of life, however thick 
the crust may be. 

" I seem to be sitting here in solitude listening to 
the music of one of Nature's mighty harp-strings. Her 
grand symphonies peal forth through the endless ages of 
the universe, now in the tumultuous whirl of busy life, 
now in the stiffening coldness of death, as in Chopin's 
Funeral March ; and we — we are the minute, invisible 
vibrations of the strings in this mighty music of the 
universe, ever changing, yet ever the same. Its notes 
are worlds; one vibrates for a longer, another for a 
shorter period, and all in turn give way to new ones. . . . 

"The world that shall be ! . . . Again and again this 
thought comes back to my mind. I gaze far on through 
the ages. . . . 

" Slowly and imperceptibly the heat of the sun de- 
clines, and the temperature of the earth sinks by equally 
slow degrees. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, mill- 
ions of years pass away, glacial epochs come and go, 
but the heat still grows ever less; little by little these 

i ■ 1 


1 i 



drifting masses of ice extend far and wide, ever towards 
more southern shores, and no one notices it; but at last 
all the seas of earth become one unbroken mass of ice. 
Life has vanished from its surface, and is to be found in 
the ocean depths alone. 

" But the temperature continues to fall, the ice grows 
thicker and ever thicker ; life's domain vanishes. MHIions 
of years roll on, and the ice reaches the bottom. The 
last trace of life has disappeared; the earth is covered 
with snow. All that we lived for is no longer; the fruit 
of all our toil and sufferings has been blott-d out millions 
and millions of years ago, buried beneath a pall of snow. 
A stiffened, lifeless mass of ice, this earth rolls on in her 
path through eternity. Like a faintly growing disk the 
sun crosses the sky; the moon shines no more, and is 
scarcely visible. Yet still, perhaps, the northern lights 
flicker over the desert, icy plain, and still the stars 
twinkle in silence, peacefully as of yore. Some have 
burnt out, but new ones usurp their place; and round 
them revolve new spheres, teeming with new life, new 
sufferings, without any aim Such is the infinite cycle of 
eternity; such are nature's everlasting rhythms. 

" Monday, April 30th. Drifting northward. Yester- 
day observations gave 80' 42', and to-day 80° 44^'. The 
wind steady from the south and southeast. 

" It is lovely spring weather. One feels that spring- 
time must have come, though the thermometer denies it. 
' Spring cleaning' has begun on board; the snow and ice 

'< h 



along the Fram's sides are cleared away, and she stands 
out like the crags from their winter covering decked with 
the flowers of spring. The snow lying on the deck is 
little by little shovelled overboard ; her rigging rises up 
against the clear sky clean and dark, and the gilt trucks 
at her mastheads sparkle in the sun. We go and bathe 
ourselves in the broiling sun along her warm sides, where 
the thermometer is actually above freezing-point, smoke a 
peaceful pipe, gazing at the white spring clouds that 
lightly fleet across the blue expanse. Some of us perhaps 
think of spring-time yonder at home, when the birch- 
trees are bursting into leaf." 

I I 


■ .'A 







So came the season which we at home call spring, the 
season of joy and budding life, when Nature awakens 
after her long winter sleep. But there it brought no 
change; day after day we had to gaze over the same 
white lifeless mass, the same white boundless ice-plains. 
Still we wavered between despondency, idle longing, and 
eager energy, shifting with the winds as we drift for- 
ward to our goal or are driven back from it. As before, 
I continued to brood upon the possibilities of the future 
and of our drift. One day I would think that everything 
was going on as we hoped and anticipated. Thus on 
April 17th I was convinced that there must be a current 
through the unknown polar basin, as we were unmistaka- 
bly drifting northward. The midday observation gave 
80° 20' northeast ; that is, 9' since the day before yes- 
terday. Strange ! A north wind of four whole days 
took us to the south, while twenty-four hours of this 
scanty wind drifts us 9' northward. This is remarkable; 
it looks as if we were done with drifting southward. 
And when, in addition to this, I take into consideration 


the Striking warmth of the water deep down, it seems 
to me that things are really looking brighter. The rea- 
soning runs as follows: The temperature of the water 
in the East Greenland current, even on the surface, is 
nowhere over zero (the mean temperature for the year), 
and appears generally to be -1° C. (30.2° Fahr.), even 
in 70° north latitude. In this latitude the temperature 
steadily falls as you get below the surface; nowhere 
at a greater depth than 100 fathoms is it above -i" C, 
and generally from -1.5° (29.3° Fahr.) to -1.7° C. 
(28.94° Fahr.) right to the bottom. Moreover, the bot- 
tom temperature of the whole sea north of the 60th 
degi-ee of latitude is under -1° C, a strip along the 
Norwegian coast and between Norway and Spitzbergen 
alone excepted, but here the temperature is over -1° 
C, from 86 fathoms (160 metres) downward, and 135 
fathoms (250 metres) the temperature is already +0.55"" 
C. (32.99° Fahr.), and that, too, be it remarked, north of 
the 80th degree of latitude, and in a sea surrounding 
the pole of maximum cold. 

This warm water can hardly come from the Arctic Sea 
itself, while the current issuing thence towards the south 
has a general temperature of about -1.5° C. It can 
hardly be anything other than the Gulf Stream that finds 
its way hither, and replaces the water which in its upper 
layers flows towards the north, forming the sources of 
the East Greenland polar current. All this seems to 
chime in with my previous assumptions, and supports the 

i : 

■Si ^-i 






theory on which this expedition was planned. And 
when, in addition to this, one bears in mind that the 
winds scen\, as anticipated, to be as a rule southeasterly, 
as was, moreover, the case at the international station at 
Sagastyr (by the Lena mouth), our prospects do not ap- 
pear to be unfavorable. 

Frequently, moreover, I thought I cou .t un- 

mistakable symptoms of a steadily flowing no .vesterly 
current under the ice, and then, of course, my spirits 
rose ; but at other times, when the drift again bore south- 
ward — and that was often — my doubts would return, and 
it seemed as if there was no prospect of getting through 
within any reasonable time. Truly such drifting in the 
ice is extremely trying to the mind; but there is one 
virtue it fosters, and that is patience. The whole expe- 
dition was in reality one long course of training in this 
useful virtue. 

Our progress as the spring advanced grew somewhat 
better than it had been during the winter, but on the 
whole it was always the same sort of crab-like locomo- 
tion ; for each time we made a long stretch to the 
north, a longer period of reaction was sure to follow. It 
was, in the opinion of one of our number, who was some- 
what of a politician, a constant struggle between the 
Left and Ri<rht, between Progressionists and Recession- 
ists. After a period of Left wind and a glorious drift 
northward, as a matter of course the " Radical Right " 
took the helm, and we remained lying in dead-water or 



drifted backward, thereby jnittini; Amundsen into a very 
bad temper. It was a remarkable fact that during the 
whole time the Frauis bow turned towards the south, 
generally S. ] W., and shifted but very little during the 
whole drift. As I say on May 14th: "She went back- 
ward towards her goal in the north, with her nose ever 
turned to the south. It is as though she shrank from 
increasing her distance from the world; as though she 
were longing for southern shores, while some invisible 
power is drawing her on towards the unknown. Can it 
be an ill omen, this backward advance towards the inte- 
rior of the Polar Sea.? I cannot think it; even the crab 
ultimately reaches its goal." 

A statement of our latitude and longitude on different 
days will best indicate the general course of our drift: 

May 1st, 80' 46' N. lat.; May 4th, 80" 50'; May 6th; 
80° 49'; May 8th, 80" 55' N. lat., 129" 58' I'^. long.; May 
12th, 80° 52' N. lat.; May 15th, 129" 20' H. long.; May 
2ist, 81" 20 N. lat., 125" 45' K. long.; May 23d, 81 26' 
N. lat.; May 27th, Si" 31'; June 2d, 81" 31' N. lat., 121° 
47' E. long.; June 13th, 81° 46' ; June i8th,8i"52'. Up 
to this we had made fairly satisfactory progress towards 
the north, but now came the reaction: June 24th, 81 "" 
42'; July 1st, 81° 33'; July 10th, 81" 20'; July 14th, 81" 
32'; July 18th, 81" 26'; July 31st, 81" 2' N. lat., 126" 
5' 5 " E. long.; August 8th, 81" 8'; August 14th, 81° 
5' N. lat., 127' 38' E. long.; August 26th, 81° i'; Sep- 
tember 5th, 81° 14' N. lat., 123" 36' \\. long. 




After this we began once more to drift northward, 
but not very fast. 

As before, we were constantly on the look-out for land, 
and were inclined, first from one thing, then from an- 
other, to think we saw signs of its proximity; but they 
always turned out to be imaginary, and the great depth 
of the sea, moreover, showed that, at all events, land could 
not be near. 

Later on — August 7th — when I had found over 
2085 fathoms (3850 metres) depth, I say in my diary: 
" I do not think we shall talk any more about the shallow 
Polar Sea, where land may be expected anywhere. We 
may very possibly drift out into the Atlantic Ocean with- 
out having seen a single mountain-top. An eventful 
series of years to look forward to !" 

The plan already alluded to of travelling over the ice 
with dogs and sledges occupied me a good deal, and dur- 
ing my daily expeditions— partly on snow-shoes, partly 
with dogs — my attention was constantly given to the con- 
dition of the ice and our prospects of being able to make 
our way over it. During April it was specially well 
adapted for using dogs. The surface was good, as the 
sun's power had made it smoother than the heavy drift- 
snow earlier in the winter; besides, the wind had covered 
the pressure-ridges pretty evenly, and there were not 
many crevasses or channels in the ice, so that one could 
proceed for miles without much trouble from them. In 
May, however, a change set in. So early as May 8th the 












I ^'!l 





wind had broken up the ice a good deal, and now there 
were lanes in all directions, which proved a great obstacle 
when I went out driving with the dogs. The tempera- 
ture, however, was still so low that the channels were 
quickly frozen over again and became passable; but later 
on in the month the temperature rose, so that ice was no 
longer so readily formed on the water, and the channels 
became ever more and more numerous. 

On May 20th I write : " Went out on snow-shoes in 
the forenoon. The ice has been very much broken up 
in various directions, owing to the continual winds dur- 
ing the last week. The lanes are difficult to cross over, 
as they are full of small pieces of ice, that lie dispersed 
about, and are partly covered with drift-snow. This is 
very deceptive, for one may seem to have firm ice under 
one at places where, on sticking one's staff in, it goes 
right' down without any sign of ice." On many occasions 
I nearly got into trouble in crossing over snow like this 
en snow-shoes. I would suddenly find that the snow was 
giving way undgr me, and would manage with no little 
difficulty to get safely back on to the firm ice. 

On June 5th the ice and the snow surface were 
about as before. I write : " Have just been out on a 
snow-shoe excursion with Sverdrup in a southerly 
direction, the first for a long while. The condition 
of the ice Itas altered, but not for the better; the sur- 
face, indeed, is hard and good, but the pressure - ridges 
are very awkward, and there are crevasses and hummocks 











i ( 

in all directions. A sledge expedition would make poor 
enough progress on such ice as this." 

Hitherto, however, progress had always been possible, 
but now the snow began to melt, and placed almost 
insuperable difficulties in the way. On June 13th I 
write : " The ice gets softer and softer every day, and 
large pools of water are formed on the floes all around 
us. In short, the surface is abominable. The snow- 
shoes break through into the water everywhere. Truly 
one would not be able to get far in a day now should 
one be obliged to set off towards the south or west. It 
is as if every outlet were blocked, and here we stick — 
we stick. Sometimes it strikes me as rather remarka- 
ble that none of our fellows have become alarmed, even 
when we are bearing farther and farther northward, far- 
ther and farther into the unknown ; but there is no sign 
of fear in any one of them. All look gloomy when 
we are bearing south or too much to the west, and all 
are beaming with joy when we are drifting to the north- 
ward, the farther the better. Yet none of them can be 
blind to the fact that it is a matter of life and death if 
anything of what nearly every one prophesied should 
now occur. Should <^he ship be crushed in this ice and 
go to the bottom, like the Jeannetti\ without our being 
able to save sufficient supplies to continue our drift on 
the ice, we should have to turn our course to the south^ 
and then there would be little doubt as to our fate. 
The JeanneHe people fared badly enough, but their ship 






i w 

S en 

4 z 








went down in ^f north latitude, while the nearest land to 
us is many times more than double the distance it was in 
their case, to say nothing of the nearest inhabited land. 
We are now more than 70 miles from Cape Chelyuskin, 
while from there to any inhabited region we are a long 
way farther. But the Fram will not be crushed, and no- 
body believes in the possibility of such a.x event. We 
are like the kayak-rower, who knows well enough that 
one faulty stroke of his paddle is enough to capsize him 
and send him into eternity ; but none the less he goes on 
his way serenely, for he knows that he will not make a 
faulty stroke. This is absolutely the most comfortable 
way of undertaking a polar expedition ; what possible 
journey, indeed, could be more comfortable } Not even 
a railway journey, for then you have the bother of chang- 
ing carriages. Still a change now and then would be no 
bad thing." 

Later on— in July — the surface was even worse. The 
floes were everywhere covered with slush, with water 
underneath, and on the pressure-ridges and between the 
hummocks where the snow-drifts were deep one would 
often sink in up to the middle, not even the snow-shoes 
bearing one up in this soft snow. Later on in July 
matters improved, the snow having gradually melted 
away, so that there was a firmer surface of ice to go on. 

But large pools of water now formed on the ice-floes. 
Already on the 8th and 9th of June such a pool had 
begun to appear round the ship, so that she lay in a little 




;. ^ S: 

lk5«jJM— ». *.v*v-A,-* .*- >. 

.«-.-« '■J., 

\hk '-.i 

\ ' 

m ii 

111 I ' 

if;iift , 



lake of fresh water, and we were obliged to make use 
of a bridge in order to reach a dry spot on the ice. 
Some of these fresh - water pools were of respectable 
dimensions and depth. There was one of these on the 


(From a Photograph) 

starboard side of the ship, so large that in the middle 
of July we could row and sail on it with the boats. 
This was a favorite evening amusement with some of 
us, and the boat was fully oflficered with captain, mate, 
and second mate, but had no common sailors. They 

■ 4 A~- 


thought it an excellent opportunity of practising sailing 
with a square sail; while the rest of our fellows, standing 
on the icy shore, found it still more diverting to bombard 
the navigators with snowballs and lumps of ice. It 
was in this same pool that we tried one day if one of 
our boats could carry all thirteen of us at once. When 
the dogs saw us all leave the ship to go to the pool, 
they followed us in utter bewilderment as to what this 
unusual movement could mean ; but when we sot into 
the boat they, all of them, set to work and howled in 
wild despair; thinking, probably, that they would never 
see us again. Some of them swam after us, while two 
cunning ones, " Pan " and " Kvik," conceived the brilliant 
idea of galloping round the pool to the opposite side to 
meet us. A few days afterwards I was dismayed to find 
the pool dried up; a hole had been worn through the 
ice at the bottom, and all the fresh water had drained 
out into the sea. So that amusement came to an end. 

In the summer, when we wanted to make an excur- 
sion over the ice, in addition to such pools we met with 
lanes in the ice in all directions; but as a rule could 
easily cross them by jumping from one loose floe to an- 
other, or leaping right across at narrow places. 

These lanes never attained any great width, and 
there was consequently no question of getting the 
Fram afloat in any of them ; and even could we have 
done so, it would have been of very little avail, as 
none of them was large enough to have taken her 

A ii-; 







'i ''1 




I ? 





i / 

more than a few cable-lengths farther north. Some- 
times there were indications in the sky that there must 
be large stretches of open water in our vicinity, and 
we could now and then see from the crow's-nest large 
spaces of clear water in the horizon; but they could 
not have been large enough to be of much use when it 
came to a question of pushing forward with a ship. 

Sanguine folk on board, however, attached more im- 
portance to such open stretches. June 15th I wrote 
in my diary : " There are several lanes visible in dif- 
ferent directions, but none of them is wide or of any 
great extent. The mate, however, is always insist- 
ing that we shall certainly get open water before au- 
tumn, and be able to creep along northward, while 
with the rest, Sverdrup excepted, it seems to be a gen- 
erally accepted belief. Where they are to get their open 
water from I do not know. For the rest, this is the first 
ice-bound expedition that has not spent the summer 
spying after open water, and sighing and longing for the 
ice to disperse. I only wish it may keep together, and 
hurry up and drift northward. Everything in this life 
depends on what one has made up one's mind to. One 
person sets forth to sail in open water, perhaps to the 
very Pole, but gets stuck in the ice and laments ; another 
is prepared to get stuck in the ice, but will not grumble 
even should he find open water. It is ever the safest 
plan to expect the least of life, for then one often gets 
the most." 












I ;j 



1 li; 


The open spaces, the Lines, and the rifts in the ice are, 
of course, produced, like the pressure and packing, by 
the shifting winds and the tidal currents that set the ice 
drifting first in one direction, then in another. And they 
best prove, perhaps, how the surface of the Polar Sea 
must be considered as one continuous mass of ice-floes 
in constant motion, now frozen together, now torn apart, 
or crushed against each other. 

During the whole of our drift I paid great attention to 
this ice, not only with respect to its motion, but to its 
formation and growth as well. In the Introduction of 
this book I have pointed out that, even should the ice 
pass year after year in the cold Polar Sea, it could not 
by mere freezing attain more than a certain thickness. 
From measurements that were constantly being made, 
it appeared that the ice which was formed duHng the' 
autumn in October or November continued to increase 
in size during the whole of the winter and out into 
the spring, but more slowly the thicker it became. On 
April loth it was about 2.31 metres; April 21st, 2.41 
metres; May 5th, 2.45 metres; May 31st, 2.52 metres; 
June 9th, 2.58 metres. It was thus continually increas- 
ing in bulk, notwithstanding that the snow now melted 
quickly on the surface, and large pools of fresh water 
were formed on the floes. On June 20th the thick- 
ness was the same, although the melting on the sur- 
face had now increased considerably. On July 4th the 
thickness was 2.57 metres. On July loth I was amazed 



I r 



to find that the ice had increased to 2.76 metres, not- 
withstanding that it would now diminish several centi- 
metres daily from surface melting. I bored in many 
places, but found it everywhere the same — a thin, some- 
what loose ice mass lay under the old floe. I first 
thought it was a thin ice-floe that had got pushed under, 
but subsequently discovered that it was actually a new 
formation of fresh-water ice on the lower side of the 
old ice, due to the layer of fresh water of about 9 feet 
9 inches (3 metres) in depth, formed by the melting of 
the snow on the ice. Owing to its lightness this warm 
fresh water floated on the salt sea-water, which was at a 
tfimperature of about -1.5° C. on its surface. Thus 
by contact with Uie colder sea-water the fresh water 
became cooler, and so a thick crust of ice was formed on 
the fresh water, where it came in contact with the salt 
water lying underneath it. It was this ice crust, then, 
that augmented the thickness of the ice on its under side. 
Later on in the summer, however, the ice diminished 
somewhat, owing to melting on the surface. On July 23d 
the old ice was only 2.33 metres, and with the newly formed 
layer 2.49 metres. On August loth the thickness of the old 
ice had decreased to 1.94 metres, and together the aggre- 
gate thickness to 3.1 7 metres. On August 2 2d the old ice 
was 1.86 metres, and the aggregate thickness 3.06 metres. 
On Septeml er 3d the aggregate thickness was 2.02 me- 
tres, and on September 30th 1.98 metres. On October 
3d it was the same; the thickness of the old ice was 

j.-i .^,.*- «■ . 


then 1.75 metres. On October 12th the aggregate thick- 
ness was 2.08 metres, while the old ice was 1.8 metres. 
On November loth it was still about the same, with only 
a slight tendency to increase. Further on, in November 
and in December, it increased quite slowly. On Decem- 
ber nth the aggregate thickness reached 2.1 1 metres. 
On January 3d, 1895, 2.32 metres; January loth, 2.48 me- 
tres ; February 6th, 2.59 metres. Hence it will be seen 
that the ice does not attain any enormous thickness by 
direct freezing. The packing caused by pressure can, 
however, produce blocks and floes of a very different 
size. It often happens that the floes get shoved in 
under each other in several layers, and are frozen to- 
gether so as to appear like one originally continuous 
mass of ice. Thus the Fram had got a good bed un- 
der her. 

Juell and Peter had often disputed together during the 
winter as to the thickness of ice the Fram had under 
her. Peter, who had seen a good deal of the ice before, 
maintained that it must at least be 20 feet thick, while 
Juell would not believe it, and betted 20 kroner that it 
was not as thick as that. On April 19th this dispute 
again broke out, and I say of it in my diary: "Juell has 
undertaken to make a bore, but unfortunately our borer 
reaches no farther than 16 feet down. Peter, however, 
has undertaken to cut away the 4 feet that are lacking. 
There has been a lot of talk about this wager during 
the whole winter, but they could never agree about it. 


I ' 




i ! i' 




Peter says that Juell should begin to bore, while JucU 
mv tains that Peter ought to cut the 4 feet first. This 
evening it ended in Juell incautiously offering 10 kroner 
to any one who would bore. Hentzen took him at his 
word, and immediately set to work at it with Amundsen ; 
he thought one did not always have the chance of earn- 
ing 10 kroner so easily. Amundsen offered him ;•, kroner 
an hour, or else payment per foot; and time payment was 
finally agreed to. They worked till late on into the 
night, and when they had got down 12 feet the borer 
slipped a little way, and water rose in the hole, but this 
did not come to much, and presently the borer struck on 
ice again. They went on for some time, but now the 
borer would reach no farther, and Peter had to be called 
up to cut his four feet. He and Amundsen worked away 
at cutting till they were dripping with perspiration. 
Amundsen, as usual, was very eager, and vowed he would 
not give in till he had got through it, even if it were 30 
feet thick. Meanwhile Bentzen had turned in, but a mes- 
sage was sent to him to sav that the hole was cut, and 
that boring could now begin again. When it was only an 
inch or an inch and a half short of 20 feet the borer 
slipped through, and the water spurted up and filled the 
hole. They now sank a lead-line down it, and at 30 feet 
it again brought up against ice. Now they were obliged 
to give it up. A fine lump of ice we are lying on ! Not 
taking into account a large, loose ice-floe that is lying 
packed up on the ice, it is 16 inches above the water; and 


■t AC, » J^^i 


I (< 





■ f 










# I 


















-?*.». ^f-.-.TP. W--,'. -.'f^.-v -.^^."*fl«»W*BWUW(fl«. *..-«»- ^ag^giih,_^^»- -.-»- 


rf,, — Tn.,-.«./iBSj 




adding to this the 2 feet which the Fram is raised up 
above the ice, there is no small distance between her and 
the water." 

The temperature on the ice in summer is about thaw- 
ing-point, but gradually as the winter cold comes on, it, 
of course, falls rapidly on the surface, whence the cold 
slowly penetrates deeper and deeper down towards the 
lower surface, where it naturally keeps at an even temper- 
ature with the underlying water. Observations of the 
temperature of the ice in its different layers were con- 
stantly taken in order to ascertain how quickly this cool- 
ing-down process of the ice took place during the winter, 
and also how the temperature rose again towards spring. 
The lowest temperature of the ice occurred in March and 
the beginning of April, when at 1.2 metres it was about 
3.20 Fahr. (-16° C), and at 0.8 metre about 22° F"ahr. 
below zero (-30° C). After the beginning of April it 
began to rise slowly. 

At these low temperatures the ice became very hard 
and brittle, and was readily cracked or broken up by a 
blow or by packing. In the summer, on the other hand, 
when its temperature was near melting-point, the ice 
became tough and plastic, and was not so readily broken 
up under packing. This difference between the condition 
of the ice in summer and winter was apparent also to the 
ear, as the ice-packing in winter was always accompanied 
by the frequently mentioned loud noises, while the pack- 
ing of the tough summer ice was almost noiseless, so that 









the mcst violent convulsions might take place close to us 
without our noticing them. 

In the immediate vicinity of the Fram the ice remained 
perfectly at rest the whole year through, and she was not 
at this time exposed to any great amount of pressure ; 
she lay safe and secure on the ice-floe to which she was 
firmly frozen ; and gradually, as the surface of the ice 
thawed under the summer sun, she rose up higher and 
higher. In the autumn she again began to sink a little, 
either because the ice gave way under her weight, or 
because it melted somewhat on the under surface, sc 
that it no longer had so much buoyancy as before. 

Meanwhile, life on board went on in its usual way. 
Now that we had daylight there was of course more 
work of various descriptions on the ice than had been 
the case during the winter. I have already alluded more 
than once to our unsuccessful endeavors to reach the 
bottom by sounding. Unfortunately we were not pre- 
pared for such great depths, and had not brought any 
deep-sea sounding apparatus with us. We had, there- 
fore, to do the best we could under the circumstances, and 
that was to sacrifice one of the ship's r,teel cables in order 
to make a lead-line. It was not difficult to find sufficient 
space on the ice for a rope-walk, and although a tempera- 
ture of from 22° F"ahr. below zero (-30° C.) to 40° Fahr. 
below zero (-40° C.) is not the pleasantest in which 
to manipulate such things as steel wire, yet for all that 
the work went on well. The cable was unlaid into its 


separate strands, and a fresh, pliant lead-line manufact- 
ured by twisting two of these strands together. In this 
way we made a line of between 4000 and 5000 metres- 
(2150 to 2700 fathoms) long, and could now at last 
reach the bottom. The depth proved to range between. 
3300 and 3900 metres (1800 to 2100 fathoms). 

This was a remarkable discovery, for, as I have fre- 
quently mentioned, the unknown polar basin has always 
been supposed to be shallow, with numerous unknown 
lands and islands. I, too, had assumed it to be shallow 
when I sketched out my plan (see page 24), and had 
thought it was traversed by a deep channel which might 
possibly be a continuation of the deep channel in the 
North Atlantic (see page 28). 

From this assumption of a shallow Polar Sea it was- 
concluded that the regions about the Pole had formerly 
been covered with an extensive tract of land, of which the 
existing islands are simply the remains. This extensive 
tract of polar land was furthermore assumed to have been 
the nursery of many of our animal and plant forms,, 
whence they had found their way to lower latitudes. 
These conjectures now appear to rest on a somewhat 
infirm basis. 

This great depth indicates that here, at all events,, 
there has not been land in any very recent geological 
period ; and th's depth is, no doubt, as old as the depth 
of the Atlantic Ocean, of which it is almost certainly a. 


'I , 











II . 

Another task to which I attached great importance, 
and to which I have frequently alluded, was the observa- 
tion of the temperature of the sea at different depths, 
from the surface down to the bottom. These observa- 
tions we took as often as time permitted, and, as already 
mentioned, they gave some surprising results, showing 
the existence of warmer water below the cold surface 
stratum. This is not the place to give the results of the 
different measurements, but as they are all very similar I 
will instance one of them in order that an idea may be 
formed how the temperature is distributed. 



This series of temperatures, of which an extract is given 
here, was taken from the 13th to the 17th of August. 




2 metres 




=■■■ I 

-f- 1.02 

= 33.83 

20 " 




80 " 










lOO " 



— 1.40 



140 " 

180 " 







— 0.58 

— 0.03 


220 " 


+ 0.19 


240 " 



+ 0.20 

+ 0.34 


280 " 


+ 0.42 




+ 0.34 


350 " 


+ 0.44 




+ 0-35 


450 " 


+ 0.36 




+ 0-34 


600 " 


+ 0.26 


700 " 
800 " 


+ o.r4 
+ 0.07 




~ 0.04 




— O.IO 




— 0.28 




— 0.34 




— 0.46 


1 800 


— 0.60 










2900 " 


— 0.76 


3000 " 




3400 " 


— 0,69 


3700 " 


— 0.65 




— 0.64 


325 " 


+ 0.49 


+ 0.85 


+ 0.76 


+ 0.78 


+ 0.62 


: t 


• \ tf: 




These temperatures of the water are in many re- 
spects remarkable. In the first place, the temperature 
falls, as will be seen, from the surface downward to a 
depth of 80 metres, after which it rises to 280 metres, 
falls again at 300 metres, then rises again at 326 metres, 
where it was +049°; then falls to rise again at 450 
metres, then falls steadily down to 2000 metres, to rise 
once more slowly at the bottom. Similar risings and 
fallings were to be found in almost all the series of tem- 
peratures taken, and the variations from one month to 
another were so small that at the respective depths they 
often merely amounted to the two-hundredth part of a 
degree. Occasionally the temperature of the warm strata 
mounted even higher than mentioned here. Thus on 
October 17th at 300 metres it was +0.85°, at 350 metres 
+ 0.76°, at 400 metres +0.78, and at 500 metres +0.62°, 
after which it sank evenly, until, towards the bottom, it 
again rose as before. 

We had not expected to meet with much bird life in 
these desolate regions. Our surprise, therefore, was not 
small when on Whitsunday, May 13th, a gull paid us a 
visit. After that date we regularly saw birds of different 
kinds in our vicinity till at last it became a daily occur- 
rence, to which we did not pay any particular attention. 
For the most part they ^vere ice mews {Larus eburneus)y 
kittiwakes {Rissatridacty ,...,, fulmars {Proccllaria glacialis), 
and now and then a blue gull {L. glaucus), a herring gull 
(Z. argentatus?), or a black guillemot {Uria grylle); once 
















' i 








;«-■ "?i#l»i<=r" 



or twice we also saw a skua (probably Lestris parasitica)— 
for instance, on July 14th. On July 21st we had a visit 
from a snow-bunting. 

On August 3d a remarkable occurrence took place: 
we were visited by the Arctic rose gull {Rhodostethia 
rosea). I wrote as follows about it in my diary : " To-day 
my longing has at last been satisfied. I have shot Ross's 
gull,"* three specimens in one day. This rare and 
mysterious inhabitant of the unknown north, which is 
only occasionally seen, and of which no one knows 
whence it cometh or whither ''t goeth, which belongs 
exclusively to the world to which the imagination as- 
pires, is what, from the first moment I saw these tracts, 
I had always hoped to discover, as my eyes roamed over 
the lonely plains of ice. And now it came when I was 
least thinking of it. I was out for a little walk on the 
ice by the ship, and as I was sitting down by a hummock 
my eyes wandered northward and lit on a bird hovering 
over the great pressure -mound away to the northwest. 
At first I took it to be a kittiwake, but soon discovered 
it rather resembled the skua by its swift flight, sharp 
wings, and pointed tail. When I had got my gun, there 
were two of them together flying round and round the 
ship. I now got a closer view of them, and discovered 
that they were too light colored to be skuas. They were 
by no means shy, but continued flying about close to the 

* This gull is often called by this name, after its first discoverer. It 
has acquired its other name, " rose gull," from its pin'- olor. 




■' M 


r ; 

% \ 

'*'i.i^i44.S' ■■■ .™" ,*■*».,« 






ship. On going after them on the ice I soon shot one of 
them, and was not a little surprised, on picking it up. to 
find it was a little bird about the size of a snipe ; the 
mottled back, too, reminded me also of that bird. Soon 
after this I shot the other. Later in the day there came 
another, which was also shot. On picking this one up I 
found it was not quite dead, and it vomited up a couple 
of large shrimps, which it must have caught in some 
channel or other. All three were young birds, about 12 
inches in length, with dark mottled gray plumage on the 
back and wings; the breast and under side white, with a 
scarcely perceptible tinge of orange-red, and round the 
neck a dark ring sprinkled with gray." At a somewhat 
later age this mottled plumage disappears; they then 
become blue on the back, with a black ring round the 
neck, while the breast assumes a delicate pink hue. 
Some few days afterwards (August 6th and 8th) some 
more of these birds were shot, making eight specimens 
in all. 

While time was passing on, the plan I had been re- 
volving in my mind during the winter was ever upper- 
most in my thoughts — the plan, that is to say, of ex- 
ploring the unknown sea apart from the track in which 
the Fram was drifting. I kept an anxious eye upon the 
dogs, for fear anything should happen to tuem, and also 
to see that they continued in good condition, for all my 
hopes centred in them. Several of them, indeed, had 
been bitten to death, and two had been killed by bears; 


im- ^^L,.. — ^ ■ . . - ^,i^talt,.iH,. .J 


(From a photograph) 

i ': iff 






i' V 


" i 

'AbH [u 

V ! 

V 11 





hut there were still twenty-six remaining, and as a set- 
off against our losses we had the puppies, eight of which 
had been permitted to live. As spring advanced they 
were allowed to roam the deck, but on May 5th their 
world was considerably extended. I wrote thus : " In 
the afternoon we let the puppies loose on the ice, and 
' Kvik ' at once took long expeditions with them to famil- 
iarize them with their surroundings. First she introduced 
them to our meteorological apparatus, then to the bear- 
trap, and after tuat to different pressure-mounds. They 
were very cautious at first, staring timidly all around, 
and venturing out very slowly, a step at a time, from the 
ship's side; but soon they began to run riot in their 
newly discovered world. 

" ' Kvik ' was very proud to conduct her litter out into 
the world, and roamed about in the highest of spirits, 
though she had only just returned from a long driving 
expedition, in which, as usual, she had done good work 
in harness. In the afternoon one of the black and 
white puppies had an attack of madness. It ran round 
the ship, barking furiously ; the others set on it, and it 
bit at everything that came in its way. At last we got 
it shut in on the deck forward, where it was furious for 
a while, then quieted down, and now seems to be all 
right again. This makes the fourth that has had a sim- 
ilar attack. What can it possibly be } It cannot be hy- 
drophobia, or it would have appeared among the grown- 
up dogs. Can it be toothache, or hereditary epilepsy— 


"i ; 



- -l ii - i ' li r t v i i' i a i 'aif i iwt '. 



I ♦ 

r in 

or some other infernal thing?" Unfortunately, several 
of them died from these strange attacks. The puppies 
were such fine, nice animals, that we were all very sorry 
when a thing like this occurred. 

On June 3d I write: "Another of the puppies died 
in the forenoon from one of those mysterious attacks, 
and I cannot conceal from myself that I take it greatly 
to heart, and feel low-spirited about it, I have been 
so used to these small polar creatures living their sor- 
rowless life on deck, romping and playing around us 
from morning to evening, and a little of the night as 
well. I can watch them with pleasure by the hour to- 
gether, or play with them as with little children — have a 
game at hide-and-seek with them round the skylight, 
the while they are beside themselves with glee. It is 
the largest and strongest of the lot that has just died, 
a handsome dog; I called him 'Lova' (Lion). He was 
such a confiding, gentle animal, and so affectionate. 
Only yesterday he was jumping and inlaying about and 
rubbing himself against me, and to-day he is dead. Our 
ranks are thinning, and the worst of it is we try in vain 
to make out what it is that ails them. This one was 
apparently quite in his normal condition and as cheerful 
as ever until his breakfast was given him ; then he be- 
gan to cry and tear round, yelping and barking as if 
distracted, just as the others had done. After this con- 
vulsions set in, and the froth poured from his mouth. 
One of these convulsions no doubt carried him off. 


". -**««,*^ A-: 






« > 






! j| 


■WC W-V.- .-:■•..,', 



Blessing and I held a post mortem upon him in the 
afternoon, but we could discover no signs of anything 
unusual. It does not seem to be an infectious ailment. 
I cannot understand it. 

"'Ulenka,' too, the handsomest dog in the whole 
pack, our consolation and our hope, suddenly became ill 
the other day. It was the morning of May 24th that 
we found it paralyzed and quite helpless, lying in its 
cask on deck. It kept trying to get up, but couldn't, and 
immediately fell down again— just like a man who has 
had a stroke and has lost all power over his limbs. It 
was at once put to bed in a box and nursed most care- 
fully ; except for being unable to walk, it is apparently 
quite well." It must have been a kind of apoplectic 
seizure that attacked the spinal cord in some spot or 
other, and paralyzed one side of the body. The dog 
recovered slowly, but never got the complete use of its 
legs again. It accompanied us, however, on our subse- 
quent sledge expedition. 

The dogs did not seem to like the summer, it was 
so wet on the ice, and so warm. On June nth I 
write : " To-day the pools on the ice all round us have 
increased wonderfully in size, and it is by no means 
agreeable to go off the ship with shoes that are not 
water-tight ; it is wetter and wetter for the dogs in the 
daytime, and they sweat more and more from the heat, 
tliough it as yet only rarely rises above zero (C). A few 
days ago they were shifted on to the ice, where two long 

i :' 

I ^ 

I ^ ' 

,1 -I 










kennels were set up for them."* They were made out 
of boxes, and really consist of only a wall and a roof. 
Here they spend the greater part of the twenty -four 
hours, and we are now rid of all uncleanliness on board, 


(From 1! Plwtogtaph) 

except for the four puppies which still remain, and lead 
a glorious life of it up there between sleep and play. 
"Ulenka" is still on deck, and is slowly recovering. 

*Up to now thev had their kennels on deck. 

\ I 


There is the same daily routine for the clogs as in the 
winter. We let them loose in the morning about half- 
past eight, and as the time for their release draws near 
they begin to get very impatient. Every time any one 
shows himself on deck a wild chorus of howls issues from 
twenty-six throats, clamoring for food and freedom. 

After being let loose they get their breakfast, consist- 
ing of half a dried f^sh or three biscuits apiece. The rest 
of the forenoon is spent in rooting round among all the 
refuse heaps they can find; and they gnaw and lick all 
the empty tin cases which they have ransacked hundreds 
of times before. If the cook sends a fresh tin dancing 
along the ice a battle immediately rages around the prize. 
It often happens that one or another of them, trying to 
get at a tempting piece of fat at the bottom of a deep, 
narrow tin, sticks his head so far down into it that the tin 
sits fast, and he cannot release himself again ; so with this 
extinguisher on his head he sprawls about blindly over 
the ice, indulging in the most wonderful antics in the 
effort to get rid of it, to the great amusement of us the 
spectators. When tired of their work at the rubbish 
heaps they stretch out their round, sausage-like bodies, 
panting in the sun, if there is any, and if it is too warm 
they get into the shade. They are tied up again before 
dinner; but "Pan," and others like-minded, sneak away 
a little before that time, and hide up behind a hummock, 
so that one can only see a head or an ear sticking up 
here and there. Should any one go to fetch him in he 



- B l Uf -ft ■ti i iit1[iM ^i 




Ij, H 



' 1' 

Hi' '" 

will probabl)' growl, show his teeth, or even snap ; after 
which he will lie flat down, and allow himself to be 
dragged off to prison. The remainder of the twenty-four 
hours they spend sleeping, puffing and panting in the 
excessive heat, which, by-the-way, is two degrees of cold. 

>) I. 


(From (t tViotograph) 

Every now and then they set up a chorus of howls that 
certainly must be heard in Siberia, and quarrel among 
themselves till the fur flies in all directions. This 
removal of the dogs on to the ice has imposed upon the 
watch the arduous duty of remaining on deck at nights, 
whic' was not the practice before. But a bear having 




once been on board and taken off two of our precious 
animals, wc don't want any more such visitors. 

"On July 31st 'Kvik' again increased our population 
by bringing eleven puppies into the world, one of which 
was deformed, and was at cnce killed ; two others died 
later, but most of them grew up and became fine, hand- 
some anin.als. They are still living. 

" Pew or no incidents occurred during this time, ex- 
cept, naturally, the different red-letter days were cele- 
brated with great ceremony," 

May 17th* we observed with special pomp, the fol- 
lowing description of which I find in my journal : 

"Friday, May i8th. May 17th was celebrated yester- 
day with all possible festi\..y. In the mornine we were 
awakened with organ music— the enlivening strains of 
the 'College Hornpipe.' After this a splendid break- 
fast off smoked salmon, ox tongues, .^tc, etc. The 
whole ship's company wore bows of ribbon in honor 
of the day— even old ' Suggen ' had one round his tail. 
The wind whistled, and the Norwegian flag floated on 
high, fluttering bravely at the mast - head. About 11 
o'clock the company assembled with their banners on 
the ice on the port side of the snip, and the procession 
arranged itself in order. First of all came the leader of 
the expedition with the ' pure ' Norwegian flag ; t after 
him Sverdrup with the Fmnis pennant, which, with its 

* The annivers. I .,.( the Norwegian Constitution. 
t Without th.} ni:.vk of the "union" with Sweden. 





1h '^'^ 



'FRAM' on a red ground, 3 fathoms long, looked 
splendid. Next came a dog- sledge, with the band 
(Johansen with the accordion), and Mogstad, as coach- 
man; after them came the mate with rifles and har- 
poons, Henriksen carrying a long harpoon ; then Amund- 
sen and Mordahl, with a red banner. The doctor fol- 
lowed, with a demonstration flag in favor of a normal 
working-day. It consisted of a woollen jersey, with the 
letters ' N. A.'* embroidered on the breast, and at the 
top of a very long pole it looked most impressive. After 
him followed our clicf, Juell, with ' peik's ' t saucepan 
on his back ; and then came the meteorologists, with a 
curious apparatus, consisting of a large tin scutcheon, 
across which was fastenc;! a red band, with the letters 
' Al. St.,' signifying ' almindelig stemmeret,' or ' universal 
suffrage.' \ 

"At last the procession began to move on. The dogs 
marched demurely, as if they had never done anything 
else in all their lives than walk in procession, and Ihe 
band played a magnificent festive march, not composed 
for the occasion. The stately cortege marched twice 

I ^) 


* " Normal arbeidsdage" = normal >vorking-day. 

t The pet name of the cooking-range in the galley. 

X Up to this day I am not quite clear as to what these emblems were 
intended to signify. That the doctor, from want of practice, would 
have been glad of a normal day's work ("normal Arbeidsdag ") can 
readily be explained, but why the meteorologists should cry out for 
universal suffrage passes my comprehension. Did they want to oxer- 
throw despotism } 


round the Fram. after which with great solemnity it 
moved off in the direction of the large hummock, and 
was photographed on the way by the photographer of 
the expedition. At the nummock a hearty cheer was 


(I'rolii It rliotogra/'h) 

given for the Fram, which had brought us hither so 
well, and which would, doubtless, take us equally well 
home again. After this the procession turned back, 
cutting across the Fnniis bow. At the port gangway 
a halt was called, and the photographer, mountino- the 
bridge, made a speech in honor of the day. This was 


.' If 



1 1'! 1 



' I" ' i 

succeeded by a thundering salute, consisting of six shots, 
the result of which was that five or six of the dogs 
rushed off over hummocks and pressure - ridges, and 
hid themselves for several hours. Meanwhile we went 
down into the cozy cabin, decorated with flags for the 
occasion in a right festiv? manner, where we partook of 
a splendid dinner, preluded by a lovely waltz. The 
7)ieim was as follows; Minced fish with curried lobster, 
melted butter, and potatoes; music; pork cutlets, with 
green pease, potatoes, mango chutney, and Worcester 
sauce; rrusic; apricots and custard, with cream; much 
music. After this a siesta ; then coffee, currants, figs, 
cakes ; and the photographer stood cigars. Great en- 
thusiasm, then more siesta. After supper the violinist, 
Mogstad, gave a recital, when refreshments were served 
in the shape of figs, sweetmeats, apricots, and ginger- 
bread (honey cakes). On the whole, a charming and 
very successful Seventeenth of May, especially consid- 
ering that we had passed the 8ist degree of latitude. 

" Monday, May 28th. Ugh ! I am tired of these 
endless, white plains — cannot even be bothered snow- 
shoeing over them, not to mention that the lanes stop 
one on every hand. Day and night I pace up and 
down the deck, along the ice by the ship's sides, revolv- 
ing the most elaborate scientific problems. For the past 
few days it is especially the shifting of the Pole that 
has fascinated me. I am beset by the idea that the 
tidal wave, along with the unequal distribution of land 


W^ U 








, i 

I ■■'. 





^lll 1 


■ r 

and sea, must have a disturbing effect on the sit- 
uation of the earth's axis. When such an idea gets 
into one's head, it is no easy matter to get it out 
again. After pondering over it for several days, I 
have finally discovered that the influence of the moon 
on the sea must be sufficient to cause a shifting of the 
Pole to the extent of one minute in 800,000 years. In 
order to account for the European Glacial Age, which 
was my main object, 1 must shift the Pole at least ten 
or twenty degrees. This leaves an uncomfortably wide 
interval of time since that period, and shows that the 
human race must have attained a respectable age. Of 
course, it is all nonsense. But while I am indefatigably 
tramping the deck in a brown study, imagining myself 
no end of a great thinker, I suddenly discover that my 
thoughts are at home, where all is summer and loveli- 
ness, and those I have left are busy building castles in 
the air for the day when I shall return. Yes, yes. I 
spend rather too much time on this sort of thing; but 
the drift goes as slowl)' as ever, and the wind, the all- 
powerful wind, is still the .same. The first thing my 
eyes look for when I set foot on deck in the mornincr is 
the weathercock on the niizzcn-top, to see how the wind 
lies; thither they are forever straying during the whole 
day, and there again they rest the last thing before I 
turn in. But it ever points in the same direction, west 
and southwest, and we drift now quicker, now more 
slowly westward, and only a little to the north. I have 

'I la 





UiMTA |2.5 
|5o "^ MWM 

I ;^ ilia 

S 1^ IIII2C 














WEBSTER, N.Y. i4S80 

(716) 872-4503 














no doubt now about the success of the expedition, and 
my miscalculation was not so great, after all; but I 
scarcely think we shall drift higher than 85°, even if we 
do that. It will depend on how far Franz Josef Land 
extends to the north. In that case it will be hard to 
give up reaching the Pole ; it is in reality a mere matter 
of vanity, merely child's play, in comparison with what 
we are doing and hoping to do; and yet I must confess 
that I am foolish enough to want to take in the Pole 
while I am about it, and shall probably have a try at it 
if we get into its neighborhood within any reasonable 

"This is a mild May; the temperature has been 
about zero several times of late, and one can walk up 
and down and almost imagine one's self at home. 
There is seldom more than a few degrees of cold ; but 
the summer fogs are beginning, with occasional hoar- 
frost. As a rule, however, the sky, with its light, fleet- 
ing clouds, is almost like a spring sky m the south. 

" We notice, too, that it has become milder on board ; 
we no longer need to light a fire in the stove to make 
ourselves warm and cozy; though, indeed, we have 
never indulged in much luxury in this respect. In the 
store-room the rime frost and ice that had settled on 
the ceiling and walls are beginning to melt; and in 
the compartments astern of the saloon, and in the hold, 
we have been obliged to set about a grand cleaning-up, 
scraping off and sweeping away the ice and rime, to 

I Mil •jriatMiiJwjn 


save our provisions from taking harm, through the 
damp penetrating the wrappings and rusting holes in 
the tin cases. We have, moreover, for a long time 
kept the hatchways in the hold open, so that there 
has been a thorough draught through it, and a good 
deal of the rime has evaporated. It is remarkable 
how little damp we have on board. No doubt this is due 
to the Frams solid construction, and to the deck over 
the hold being panelled on the under side. I am getting 
fonder and fonder of this ship. 

" Saturday, June 9th. Our politician, Amundsen, is 
celebrating the day with a white shirt and collar.* To- 
day I have moved with my work up into the deck-house 
again, where I can sit and look out of the window in the 
daytime, and feel that I am living in the world and not 
in a cavern, where one must have lamplight night and 
day. I intend remaining here as long as possible out 
into the winter: it is so cozy and quiet, and the monoto- 
nous surroundings are not constantly forcing themselves 
in upon me. 

" I really have the feeling that summer has come. I 
can pace up and down the deck by the hour together 
with the sun, or stand still and roast myself in it, while 
I smoke a pipe, and my eyes glide over the confused 
masses of snow and ice. The snow is everywhere wet 
now, and pools are beginning to form every here and 

* With reference to the resolution of the Storthing, on June 9. 

1880. e. J i" 

', ! 






there. The ice too is getting more and more permeated 
with salt-water; if one bores ever so small a hole in it, 
it is at once filled with water. The reason, of course, 
is that, owing to the rise in the temperature, the parti- 
cles of salt contained in the ice begin to melt their sur- 
roundings, and more and more water is formed with a 
good admixture of salt in it, so that its freezing-point is 
lower than the temperature of the ice around it. This, 
too, had risen materially ; at about 4 feet depth it is only 
25.2° Fahr. (— 3.8° C), at 5 feet it is somewhat warmer 
again, 26.5° Fahr. (-3.1° C). 

" Sunday, June loth. Oddly enough we have had no 
cases of snow-blindness on board, with the exception of 
the doctor, who, a couple of days ago, after we had been 
playing at ball, got a touch of it in the evening. The 
tears poured from his eyes for some time, but he soon 
recovered. Rather a humiliating trick of fate that he 
should be the first to suffer from this ailment" Sub- 
sequently we had a few isolated cases of slight snow- 
blindness, so that one or two of our men had to 2:0 about 
with dark spectacles ; but it was of little importance and 
was due to their not thinking it worth while to take the 
necessary precautions. 

"Monday, June nth. To-day I made a joyful dis- 
covery. I thought I had begun my last bundle of cigars, 
and calculated that by smoking one a day they would 
last a month, but found quite unexpectedly a whole box 
in my locker. Great rejoicing! it will help to while 



: li!' 










away a few more months, and where shall we be then ? 
Poor fellow, you are really at a low ebb! ' To while 
away time'- that is an idea that has scarcely ever 
entered your head before. It has always been your 
great trouble that time flew away so fast, and now it 
cannot go fast enough to please you. And then so 
addicted to tobacco-you wrap yourself in clouds of 
smoke to indulge in your everlasting day dreams. 
Hark to the south wind, how it whistles in the rigging; 
it is quite inspiriting to listen to it. On Midsummer' 
eve we ought, of course, to have had a bonfire as usual, 
but from my diary it does not seem to have been the 
sort of weather for it. 

"Saturday, June 23, 1894. 

'■!•]■ 1 

'"Mid the shady vales and the leafy trees, 
How sweet the approach of the summer breeze ! 
When the mountain slopes in the sunlight gleam, 
And the eve of St. John comes in like a dream. 

The north wind continues with sleet. Gloomy weather. 
Drifting south. 81° 43' north latitude; that is, 9' south^ 
ward since Monday. 

" I have seen many Midsummer-eves under different 
skies, but never such a one as this. So far, far from all 
that one associates with this evening. I think of the 
merriment round the bonfires at home, hear the scraping 
of the fiddle, the peals of laughter, and the salvoes of the 
guns, with the echoes answering from the purple-tinted 

i I 





41 i 

r ' 


il ■' 









heights. And then I look out over this boundless, white 
expanse into the fog and sleet and the driving wind. 
Here is truly no trace of midsummer merriment. It is a 
gloomy lookout altogether! Midsummer is past— and 
now the days are shortening again, and the long night 
of winter approaching, which, maybe, will find us as far 
advanced as it left us. 

" ^ ^v^'^s busily engaged with my examination of the 
salinity of the sea-water this afternoon when Mogstad 
stuck his head in at the door and said that a bear must 
be prowling about in the neighborhood. On returning 
after dinner to their work at the great hummock, where 
they were busy making an ice-cellar for fresh meat,* the 
men found bear-tracks which were not there before. I 
put on my snow-shoes and went after it. But what 
terrible going it had been the last few days I Soft slush, 
in which the snow-shoes sink helplessly. The bear had 
come from the west right up to the Fram, had stopped 
and inspected the work that was going on, had then 
retreated a little, made a considerable detour, and set off 
eastward at its easy, shambling gait, without deigning 
to pay any further attention to such a trifle as a\ship. 

* It was seal, walrus, and bear's flesh from last autumn, which was 
used for the dogs. During the winter it had been hung up in the ship 
and was still quite fresh. But henceforth it was stored on the ice un- 
til, before autumn set in, it was consumed. It is remarkable how well 
meat keeps in these regions. On June 28th we had reindeer-steak for 
dmner that we had killed on the .Siberian coast in September of the 
previous year. 


;,1 sii 

1. I;i 




It had rummaged about in every hole and corner where 
there seemed to be any chance of finding food, and had 
rooted in the snow after anything the dogs had left, or 
whatever else it might be. It had then gone to the 
lanes in the ice, and skirted them carefully, no doubt in 
the hope of finding a seal or two, and after that it had 
gone off between the hummocks and over floes, with a 
surface of nothing but slush and water. Had the surface 
been good I should no doubt have overtaken Master 
Bruin, but he had too long a start in the slushy snow. 

" A dismal, dispiriting landscape— nothing but white 
and gray. No shadows— merely half -obliterated forms 
melting into the fog and .slush. Everything is in a state 
of disintegration, and one's foothold gives way at every 
step. It is hard work for the poor snow-shoer who stamps 
along through the slush and fog after bear-tracks that 
wind in and out among the hummocks, or over them. 
The snow-shoes sink deep in, and the water often 
reaches up to the ankles, so that it is hard work to get 
them up or to force them forward; but without them 
one v.'ould be still worse off. 

"Every here and there this monotonous grayish 
whiteness is broken by the coal-black water, which winds, 
in narrower or broader lanes, in between the high hum- 
mocks. White, snow-laden floes and lumps of ice float 
on the dark surface, looking like white marble on a 
black ground. Occasionally there is a larger dark-col- 
ored pool, where the wind gets a hold of the water and 



', I 


1 <■ 





\ 3 



forms small waves that ripple and plash against the edge 
of the ice, the only signs of life in this desert tract. It 
is like an old friend, the sound (A these playful \vave- 
lets. And here, too, they eat away the floes and hollow 
out their edges. One could almost imagine one's self in 
more southern latitudes. But all around is wreathed 
with ice, towering aloft in its ever- varying fantastic 
forms, in striking contrast to the dark water on which 
a moment before the eye had rested. Everlastingly is 
this shifting ice modelling, as it were, in pure, gray 
marble, and, with nature's lavish prodigality, strewing 
around the most glorious statuary, which perishes with- 
out any eye having seen it. Wherefore ? To what end 
all this shifting pageant of loveliness.? It is governed by 
the mere caprices of nature, following out those ever- 
lajting laws that pay no heed to what we regard as aims 
and objects. 

" In front of me towers one pressure - ridge after 
another, with lane after lane between. It was in June 
the Jeaniiette was crushed and sank ; what if the Fram 
were to meet her fate here? No, the ice will not get 
the better of her. Yet, if it should, in spite of every- 
thing! As I stood gazing around me I remembered 
it was Midsummer- eve. Far away yonder her masts 
pointed aloft, half lost to view in the snowy haze. They 
must, indeed, have stout hearts, those fellows on board 
that craft. Stout hearts, or else blind faith in a man's 






























" It is all very well that he who has hatched a plan, 
be it never so wild, should go with it to carry it out; he 
naturally docs his best for the child to which his thoughts 
have given birth. Hut they— they had no child to tend, 
and could, without feeling any yearning balked, have 
refrained from taking jmrt in an expedition like this. 
Why should any human being renounce life to be wiped 
out here ? 

"Sunday, June 24th. The anniversary of our depart- 
ure from home. Northerly wind; still drifting south. 
Observations to-day gave 81° 41' 7" north latitude, so 
we are not going at a breakneck speed, 

" It has been a long year— a great deal has been gone 
through in it— though we are quite as far advanced as I 
had anticipated. I am sitting, and look out of the 
window at the snow whirling round in eddies as it is 
swept along by the north wind. A strange Midsummer- 
day ! One might think we had had enough of snow and 
ice ; I am not, however, exactly pining after green fields 
— at all events, not always. On the contrary, I find 
myself sitting by the hour laying plans for other voy- 
ages into the ice after our return from this one. . . . 
Yes, I know what I have attained, and, more or less, 
what awaits me. It is all very well for me to sketch 
plans for the future. But those at home. . . . No, I 
am not in a humor for writing this evening; I will 
turn in. 

" Wednesday, July i ith. Lat. 81° 18' 8". At last the 




"■■J-N m WWi^Q M a.^ ^ -f 




southerly wind has returned, so there is an end of drifting 
south for the present. 

" Now I am almost longing for the polar night, for 
the everlasting wonderland of the stars with :he spectral 
northern lights, and the moon sailing through the pro- 
found silence. It is like a dream, like a glimpse into 
the realms of fantasy. There are no forms, no cumbrous 
reality— only a vision woven of silver and violet ether, 

rising up from earth and floating out into infinity 

But this eternal day, with its oppressive actuality, in- 
terests me no longer— does not entice me out of my lair. 
Life is one incessant hurrying from one task to anoth- 
er; everything must be done and nothing neglected, day 
after day, week after week ; and the working-day is long, 
seldom ending till far over midnight. But through it all 
runs the same sensation of longing and emptiness, which 
must not be noted. Ah, but at times there is no hold- 
ing it aloof, and the hands sink down without will or 
strength — so weary, so unutterably weary. 

" Ah ! life's peace is said to be found by holy men in 
the desert. Here, indeed, there is dese.t encugh; but 
peace— of that I know nothing. I suppose it is the holi- 
ness that is lacking. 

"Wednesday, July i8th. Went on excursion with 
Blessing in the forenoon to collect specimens of the 
brown snow and ice, and gather seaweed and diatoms 
in the water. The upper surface of the floes is nearly 
everywhere of a dirty brown color, or, at least, this 



sort of ice preponderates, while pure white floes, without 
any traces of a dirty brown on their surface, are rare. 
1 imagained this brown color must be due to the 
organisms I found in the newly-frozen, brownish-red 
ice last autumn (October); but the specimens I took 


(From a Photograph) 

today consist, for the most part, of mineral dust mingled 
with diatoms and other ingredients of organic origin.* 

" Blessing collected several specimens on the upper 
surface of the ice earlier in the summer, and came to 

* The same kind of dust that 1 found on the ice on the east coast of 
Greenland, vvhich is mentioned in the Introduction to this book, p. 39. 













»-.-<t„*, •■»»i.»,^V-.I4*A'; i^.vAUidAl. 





the same conclusions. I must look further into this, in 
order to see whether all this brown dust is of a mineral 
nature, and consequently originates from the land.* We 
found in the lanes quantities of algse like those we 
had often found previously. There were large accumu- 
lations of them in nearly every little channel. We 
could also see that a brown surface layer spread it- 
self on the sides of the floes far down into the water. 
This is due to an alga that grows on the ice. There 
were also floating in the water a number of small 
viscid lumps, some white, some of a yellowish red 
color; and of these I collected several. Under the mi- 
croscope they all appeared to consist of accumulations 
of diatoms, among which, moreover, were a number of 
larger cellular organisms of a very characteristic appear- 
ance.t All of these diatomous accumulations kept at 
a certain depth, about a yard below the surface of the 
water; in some of the small lanes they appeared in 
large masses. At the same depth the above-named alga 
seemed especially to flourish, while parts of it rose up to 

*This dust, which is to be seen in summer on the upper surface of 
almost all polar ice of any age. is no doubt, for the most part, dust that 
hovers m the earth's atmosphere. It probably descends with the falling 
snow, and gradually accumulates into a surface layer as the snow melts 
dunng the summer. Larger quantities of mud. however, are also often 
to be found on the ice. which strongly resemble this dust in color, but 
are doubtless more directly connected with land, being formed on Hoes 
that have originally lain in close proximity to it. (Compare Wissensch. 
Err^ebmsse von Dr. F. Nausais Durchqucr,a,g von Gronland. Ergcinzungs- 
heft No. 105 ZH Petermanns M/tt/teihtngen.) 

1 1 have not yet had tin.e to examine them closely. 




' ;. 



{From a photograph) 

\* ' - -*- -i- T-?*-*!*: 

k il 


the surface. It was evident that these accumulations of 
diatoms and alga remained floating exactly at the depth 
where the upper stratum of fresh water rests on the sea- 


{From a P/io/ogrn/'/t) 

water. The water on the surface was entirely fresh, and 
the masses of diatoms sank in it, but floated on reachino- 
the salt-water below. 

"Thursday, July 19th. It is as I expected. I am 
beginning to know '1.- ways of the wind up here pretty 



VV\ i'l 


I nww i ir h » % t *.« ^ ta 




s . 

.t\ , I 

1 1 !, 

well now. After having blown a ' windmill breeze ' to- 
day it falls calm in the evening, and to-morrow we shall 
probably have wind from the west or northwest. 

" Yesterday evening the last cigar out of the old box ! 
And now 1 have smoked the first out of the last box I 
have got. We were to have got so far by the time that 
box was finished ; but are scarcely any farther advanced 
than when I began it, and goodness knows if we shall 
be that when this, too, has disappeared. But enough of 
that. Smoke away. 

"Sunday, July 22d. The northwest wind did not 
come quite up to time ; on Friday we had northeast in- 
stead, and during the night it gradually went round to 
N.N.E., and yesterday forenoon it blew due north. To- 
day it has ended in the west, the old well-known quarter, 
of which we have had more than enough. This evening 
the line* shows about N.W. to N., and it is strong, so we 
are moving south again. 

" I pass the day at the microscope. I am now busied 
with the diatoms and algae of all kinds that grow on the 
ice in the uppermost fresh stratum of the sea. These are 
undeniably most interesting things, a whole new world 
of organisms that are carried off by the ice from known 
shores across the unknown Polar Sea, there to awaken 
every summer and develop into life and bloom. Yes, it 

* We always had a line, with a net at the end, hanging out, in order 
to see the direction we were drifting, or to ascertain whether there was 
any perceptible current in the water. 



is very interesting work, but yet there is not that same 
burning interest as of old, although the scent of oil of 
cloves, Canada balsam, and wood-oil awakens many dear 


(JULY I, 1894) 

(From a Photograph) 

reminiscences of that quiet laboratory at home, and every 
morning as I come in here the microscope and glasses 
and colors on the table invite me to work. But thouo-h 



n \ 


I work indefatigably day after day till late in the night, 
it is mostly duty work, and I am not sorry when it is 
finished, to go and lie for some few hours in my berth 
reading a novel and smoking a cigar. With what exul- 
tation would I not throw the whole aside, spring up, and 
lay hold of real life, fighting my way over ice and sea 
with sledges, boats, or kayaks ! It is more than true that 
it is ' easy to live a life of battle ' ; but here there is neither 
storm nor battle, and I thirst after them. I long to en- 
list titanic forces and fight my way forward — that would 
be living ! But what pleasure is there in strength when 
there is nothing for it to do ? Here we drift forward, and 
here we drift back, and now we have been two months 
on the same spot. i 

" Everything, however, is being got ready for a possible 
expedition, or for the contingency of its becoming neces- 
sary to abandon the ship. All the hand-sledges are 
lashed together, and the iron fittings carefully seen to. 
Six dog-sledges are also being made, and to-morrow we 
shall begin building kayaks ready for the men. They 
are easy to draw on hand-sledges in case of a retreat 
over the ice without the ship. For a beginning we are 
making kayaks to hold two men each. I intend to have 
them about 12 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 18 inches in 
depth. Six of these are to be made. They are to be 
covered with sealskin or sail-cloth, and to be decked all 
over, except for two holes — one for each man. 

" I feel that we have, or rather shall have, everything 



?-v--- ;^-3^y.- ^^-.'-iJ-.M'y^.- 

.*'^>i'.-^aT/^r' ■.' 

> I 

i i 

n ■ 


1 ■ 1 


■ i 




I ■: 


ill it 


^Hk'.Mc' ii. 



needful for a brilliant retreat Sometimes I seem almost 
to be longing for a defeat— a decisive one— so that we 
might have a chance of showing what is in us, and put- 
ting an end to this irksome inactivity. 

" Monday, July 30th. Westerly wind, with north- 
westerly by way of a pleasant variety , such is our daily 
fare week after week. On coming up in the morning I 
no longer care to look at the weathercock on the mast- 
head, or at the line in the water; for I know beforehand 
that the former points east or southeast, and the line in 
the contrary direction, and that we are ever bearino- to 
the southeast. Yesterday it was 81° 7' north latitude, 
the day before 81" 11', and last Monday, July 25th, 81" 26'. 
" But it occupies my thoughts no longer. I know well 
enough there will be a change some time or other, and 
the way to the sta.s leads through adversity. I have 
found a new world ; and that is the world of animal and 
plant life that exists in almost every fresh-water pool on 
the ice-floes. From morning till evening and till late in 
the night I am absorbed with the microscope, and see 
nothing around me. 1 live with these tiny beings in their 
separate universe, where they are born and die, generation 
after generation; where they pursue each other in the 
struggle for life, and carry on their love affairs with the 
same feelings, the same sufferings, and the same joys that 
permeate every living being from these microscopic ani- 
malcules up to man— self-preservation and propagation— 

that is the whole story. Fiercely as we human beiiTgs 




Struggle to push our w.iy on through the labyrinth of life, 
their struggles are assuredly no less fu-rre than ours— one 
incessant, restless hurrying to and fro, i)ushing all others 
aside, to biM-row out for themselves what is needful to 
theiu. And as to love, only mark with what passion they 
seek each other out. With all our brain-cells, we do not 
feel more strongly than they, ne\cr live so entirely for a 
sensation. Hut what is life? What matters the individ- 
ual's suffering so lonir as the strutisile iroes on ? 

" And these are small, one-celled hmips of viscous 
matter, teeming in thousands and millions, on nearly 
every single floe over the whole of this boundless sea, 
which we are apt to regard as the realm of death. Mother 
Nature has a remarkable power of producing life every- 
where — even this ice is a fruitful soil for her. 

" In the evening a little variety occurred in our un- 
eventful existence, Johansen having di.scovered a bear to 
the southeast of the ship, but out of range. It had, no 
doubt, been prowling about for some time while we were 
below at supi)er, and had been quite near us; but, being 
alarmed by some sound or other, had gone off eastward. 
Sverdrup and I set out after it, but to no purpose; tiie 
lanes hindered us too much, and, moreover, a fog came 
on, so that we had to return after having gon^ a good 

The world of organisms I above alluded to was the 
subject of special research through the short summer, and 
in m:.ny respects was quite remarkable. When the sun's 


,j» ^-■*».tfsT^^j;v..-*.1g^71g«}:^CSjg'.-<Si^y*W.'i e. i>" * ■ '• " • ?^^- -W^\^ 


THE srN/NG AM) su.\r\f/:n O/,- /.svy 515 

rays had tj;anvj(l jmvvfr on the .surface of the ice ami 
melted the snow, so that pools were formed, there was 
soon to |)e seen at the bottom of these pools small yei- 
lowish- brown spots, so small that at first one hardly 
noticed them. Day by day they increased in si/e, and 
absorbinn-, like all dark substances, the heal of the sun's 
rays, they jrradually melted the undcrlyino- jce and formrd 
K.umI cavities, often several inches deep. ThrM- j.nnvn 
sjiots were the above-mentioned al^a' and diatoms. They 
developed speedily in the summer h\oht, and would fill 
the bottoms of the cavities with a thick layer. Hut there 
were not plants only, thi' water also teemed with swarms 
of animalcules, mostly infusoria and lla,<L(ellata, which sub- 
sisted on the plants. I actually found bacteria — even 
these rejrions are not free from them ! 

Hut I could not always remain chained by the micro- 
scope. Sometimes, when the fine weather tempted me 
irresistibly, I had to _o(, out and bake myself in the sun, 
and imagine myself in Norway. 

"Saturday, Aui>ust 4th. Lovely weather yesterday 
and to-day. Light, fleecy clouds sailing high aloft 
through the sparkling azure sky— filling one's soul with 
longings to soar as high and as free as they. I have just 

been out on deck this eveni 


one cou 

Id al 

most imaLT- 

ine one's self at home by the fjord. Saturday eveni 


peace seemed to rest on th 

e scene 


on one s soul 

" Our sailmakers, Sverdrui) and Amundsen, have to- 
day finished covering the first double kayak with sail-cloth. 

': "'i 





Fully equipped, it weighs 30.5 kilos. (60 lbs.). I think it 
will prove a first-rate contrivance. Sverdrup and 1 tried 
it on a pool. It carried us splendidly, and was so stiff that 
even sitting on the deck we could handle it quite com- 
fortably. It will easily caxry two men with full equip- 
ment for 100 days. A handier or more piactical craft 
for regions like this I cannot well imao-ine 

" Sunday, August 5th. 81° 7' north latitude. 

" ' I can't forget the sparkling fjord 

When the church boat rows in the morning.' 

" Brilliant summer weather. I bathe in the sun and 
dream I am at home either on the high mountains or 
—heaven knows why— on the fjords of the west coast. 
The same white fleecy clouds in the clear blue summer 
sky ; heiven arches itself overhead like a perfect dome, 
there is nothing to bar one's way, and the soul rises 
up unfettered beneath it. What matters it that the 
world below is different — the ice no lonjrer sincde 
glittering glaciers, but spread out on every hand .? Is 
it not these same fleecy clouds far away in the blue 
expanse that the eye looks for at home on a bright 
summer day.? Sailing on these, fancy steers its course 
to the land of wistful longing. And it is just at these 
glittering glaciers in the distance that we direct our 
longing gaze. Why should not a summer day be as 
lovely here.? Ah, yes! it is lovely, pure as a dream, 
without desire, without sin; a poem of clear white 


sunbeams refracted in the cool crystal blue of the ice. 
How unutterably delightful does net this world appear to 
us on some stifling summer day at home ? 

" Have rested and ' kept Sunday.' I could not remain 
in the whole day, so took a trip over the ice. Proo-ress 
is easy except for the lanes. 

" Hansen practised kayak-paddling this afternoon on 
the pool around the ship, from which several channels 
diverge over the ice; but he was not content with 
paddling round in them, but must, of course, make an 
experiment in capsizing and recovering himself as the 
Esknnos do. It ended by his not coming up again, 
losing his paddle, remaining head downward in the 
water, and beating about with his hands till the kyak 
filled, and he got a cold bath from top to toe. Nordahl, 
who was standing by on the ice to help him, at last found 
it necessary to go in after him and raise him up on an 
even keel again, to the great amusement of us others. 

" One can notice that it is summer. This evenino- a 
game of cards is being played on deck, with 'Peik's'* 
big pot for a card-table. One could almost think it was 
an August evening at home ; only the toddy is wanting, 
but the pipes and cigars we have. 

"Sunday, August 12th. We had a shooting compe- 
tition in the forenoon. 

" A glorious evening. I took a stroll over the ice 

! ('1 

* The name given to the cooking-stove. 



;)' * 

among the lanes and hummocks. It was so wonderfully 
calm and still. Not a sound to be heard but the drip, 
drip of water from a block of ice, and the dull sound of 
a snow-slip from some hummock in the distance. The 
sun is low down in the north, and overhead is the pale 
blue dome of heaven, with gold -edged clouds. The 
profound peace of the Arctic solitudes. My thoughts 
fly free and far. If one could only give utterance to all 
that stirs one's soul on such an evening as this ! What 
an incomprehensible power one's surroundings have over 
one ! 

" Why is it that at times I complain of the loneliness.? 
With Nature around one, with one's books and studies, 
one can never be quite alone. 

" Thursday, August i6th. Yesterday evening, as I 
was lying in my berth reading, and all except the watch 
had turned in, I heard the report of a gun on deck 
over my head. Thinking it was a bear, I hurriedly 
put on my sea -boots and sprang on deck. There I 
saw Johansen bareheaded, rifle in hand. 'Was it you 
that f^red the shot ?' ' Yes. I shot at the big hummock 
yonder— I thought something was stirring there, and 
I wanted to see what it was, but it seems to have been 
nothing.' I went to the railings and looked out. ' I 
fancied it was a bear that was after our meat— but it was 
nothing.' As we stood there one of the dogs came jog. 
ging along from the big hummock. 'There, you see 
what you have shot at,' I said, laughing. ' I'm bothered 





i li 

iFroiii ,1 Z'liiitiii^rii/'/i) 



- --"'■t^V'«r'flf'-A\«irtjBUJIl.*i jr^-'t'^i'M 

:m>i it mt »zrm 



if it wasn't a dog!' he replied. ' Ice-bear' it was, true 
enough, for so we called this dog. It had seemed so large 
in the fog, scratching at the meat hummock. ' Did you 
aim at the dog and miss .? That was a lucky chance !' 
'No! I simply fired at random in that direction, for I 
wanted to see what it was.' I went below and turned 
in again. At breakfast to-day he had, of course, to run 
the gantlet of some sarcastic questions about his 'harm- 
less thunderbolt,' but he parried them adroitly enough. 

"Tuesday, August 21st. North latitude, 8i°''4.2'. 
Strange how little alteration there is: we drift a little to 
the north, then a little to the south, and keep almost to 
the same spot. But I believe, as I have believed all 
along, since before we even set out, that we should be 
away three years, or rather three winters and four sum- 
mers, neither more nor less, and that in about two years' 
time from this present autumn we shall reach home.* 
The approaching winter will drift us farther, however 
slowly, and it begins already to announce itself, for there 
were four degrees of cold last nio-ht. 

" Sunday, August 26th. It seems almost as If winter 
had come ; the cold has kept on an average between 
24.8° Fahr. (-4° C.) and 21.2' Fahr. (-6° C.) since 
Thursday. There are only slight variations in the tem- 
perature up here, so we may expect it to fall regularly 
from this time forth, though it is rather early for winter 

* It was two years later to a day that the Fram put in at Skiervo 
on the coast of Norway. •^k.jlfvo, 


i \% 

Wi i] 



I I 






to set I'ji. All the pools and lanes arc covered with 
ice, thick enough to bear a man even without snow- 

" I went out on niv snow-shoes both niornino- and 
afternoon. The surface was beautiful everywhere. Some 
of the lanes had opened out or been compressed a little, 
so that the new ice was thin and bent unpleasantly under 
the snow-shoes; but it bore me, though two of the dogs 
fell through. A good deal of snow had fallen, so there 
was fine, soft new snow to travel over. If it keeps on 
as it is now, there will be excellent snow-shoeing in the 
winter; for it is fresh water that now ficezes on the sur- 
face, so that there is no salt that the wind can carry 
from the new ice to spoil the snow all around, as was 
the case last winter. Such snow with salt in it makes 
as heavy a surface as sand. 

"Monday, August 27th. Just as Blessino- was <ioin<'- 
below after his watch to-night, and was standing by the 
rail looking out, he saw a white form that lay rolling in 
the snow a little way off to the southeast. Afterwards 
it remained for a while lying quite still. Johansen, who 
was to relieve Blessing, now joined him, and they both 
stood watching the animal intently. Presently it got up, 
so there was no longer any doubt as to what it was. Each 
got hold of a rifle and crejjt stealthily towards the fore- 
castle, where they waited quietly while the bear cautiously 
approached the ship, making long tacks against the wind. 
A fresh breeze was blowing, and the windmill goin"- 


:recl with 
it snow- 
ling and 
1. Some 
I .1 little, 
ly under 
:he do''S 
so there 
eeps on 
g in the 
the sur- 
m carry 
as was 
t makes 

s sjroHiu 
; by the 
lling in 
L'n, who 
jy both 
got up, 
>. Each 
ic fore- 
e wind. 


2V//i Sy'A'JJVG AND SUMMER OF 1894 523 

round at full speed ; but this did not alarm him at all; 
very likely it was this very thing he wanted to examine.' 
At last he reached the lane in front, when they both f^red 
and he fell down dead on the spot. It was nice to get 
fresh meat again. This was the first bear we had shot 
this year, and of course we had roast bear for dinner to- 
day. Regular winter with snow-storms. 

"Wednesday, August 29th. A fresh wind; it rattles 
and pipes in the rigging aloft. An enlivening change and 
no mistake! The snow drifts as if it were midwinter. 
Fine August weather! F.ut we are bearing north again, 
and we have need to! Yesterday our latitude was^ So^' 
53.5'- This evening I was standing in the hold at work 
on my new bamboo kayak, which will be the very acme 
of lightness. Pcttersen happened to come down, and gave 
me a hand with some lashings that I was busy with. We 
chatted a little about things in general; and he was of 
oj^inion ' that we had a good crib of it on board the Fmm, 
because here we had everything we wanted, and she was 
a devil of a ship— and any other ship would have been 
crushed flat long ago.' But for all that he would not be 
afraid, he said, to leave; her, when he saw all the contriv- 
ances, such as these new kayaks, we had been crettino- 
ready. He was sure no former expedition had ever had 
such contrivances, or been so equipped against all possi- 
ble emergencies as we. But, after all, he would prefer to 
return home on the FranC Then we talked about what 
we should do when we did get home. 





1. M 



" ' Oh, for your part, no doubt you'll be off to the 
South Pole,' he said. 

" ' And you ?' I replied. ' Will you tuck up your sleeves 
and begin again at the old work?' 

'"Oh, very likely ! but on my word I ought to have a 
week's holiday first. After such a trip I should want it, 
before buckling to at the sledge-hammer again.'" 




So summer was over, and our second autumn and 
winter was beginning. liut we were now more inured 
to the trials of patience attendant on this h"fe, and time 
passed quickly. Besides, I myself was now taken up 
with new plans and preparations. Allusion has several 
times been made to the fact that we had, durino- the 
course of the summer, got everything into readiness for 
the possibility of having to make our way home across 
the ice. Six double kayaks had been built, the hand- 
sledges were in good order, and careful calculation had 
been made of the amount of food, clothing, fuel, etc., 
that it would be necessary to carry. But I had also 
:ietly begun to make preparations for my own medi- 
-d expedition north. In August, as already mentioned, 
.. had begun to work at a single kayak, the framework 
made of bamboo. I had said nothing about my plan 
yet, except a few words to Sverdrup ; it was impossible 
to tell how far north the drift would take us, and so many 
things might happen before sprin"-. 

In the meantime life on board went on as usual. 






There were the regular observations and all sorts of 
occupations, and I myself was not so absorbed in my 
plans that I did not find time for other things too. 
Thus I see from my diary that in the end of August 
and in September I must have been very proud of a 
invention that I made for the galley. All last 


year we had cooked on a particular kind of copper 
range, heated by petroleum lamps. It was quite satis- 
factory, except that it burned several quarts of petroleum 
a day. I could not help fearing sometimes that our 
lighting supply might run short, if the expedition lasted 
longer than was expected, and always wondered if it 
would .lot be possible to construct an apparatus that 
would burn coal-oil—" black-oil," as we call it on board 
—of which we had 20 tons, originally intended for the 
engine. And I succeeded in making such an apparatus. 
On August 30th I write : " Have tried my newly invented 
coal-oil apparatus for heating the range, and it is beyond 
expectation successful. It is splendid that we shall be 
able to burn coal-oil in the galley. Now there is no fear 
of our having to cry ourselves blind for lack of liaht 
by-and-by. This adds more than 4000 gallons to our 
stock of oil; and we can keep all our fine petroleum 
now for lighting purposes, and have lamps for many a 
year, even if we are a little extravagant. The 20 tons of 
coal-oil ought to keep the range going for 4 years, I 

"The contrivance is as simple as possible. From a 

t ». 

Ill my 

reservoir of oil a pipe leads down and into the firepl 


place ; 

the oil drips down from the end of this pipe into an iron 

wl, and is here sucked up by a sheet of asbestos, or 


by coal ashes. The flow of oil fi 
by a fine valve cock. T 
a ventilatii 

o ins 

om the pipe is regulated 
lire a good draught, I bring 
from outside right by the range door. 
Air is pressed through this by a large wind-sail on deck, 
and blows straight on to the iron bowl, where the oil 
burns briskly with a clear, white flame. Whoever lights 
the fire in the morning has only to go on deck and^'see 
that the wind-sail is set to the wind, to open the venti- 
lator, to turn the cock so that the oil runs properly, and 
then set it burning with a scrap of paper. It looks after 
itself, and the water is boiling in twenty minutes or half 
an hour. One could not have anything much easier than 
this, it seems to me. Hut of course in our, as in other 
communities, it is difficult to introduce reforms; every- 
thing new is looked upon with suspicion." 

Somewhat later I write of the same apparatus : " We 
are now using the galley again, with the coal-oil fire; 
the moving down took place the day before yesterday,* 
and the fire was used yesterday. It works capitally; a 
three-foot wind is enough to give a splendid draught. 
The day before yesterday, when I was sitting with some 
of the others in the saloon in the afternoon, I heard a dull 

* During' the summer \vc had made a kitchen of the chart-room on 
deck, because of the good daylight there; and, besides, the galley proper 
was to be cleaned and painted. 





f , 


L\: I 



report out In the galley, and said at once that it sounded 
like an exi)lo.sion. I^resently Petterson* stuck a head in 
at the door as black as a sweep's, great lumps of soot 
all over it, and said that the stove had exploded ricrju 
into his face; he was only going to look if it was burn- 
ing rightly, and the whole fiendish thing flew out at him. 
A stream of words not unmingled with oaths flowed 
like peas out of a sack, while the rest of us yelled with 
laughter. In the galley it was easy to see that something 
had hapj)cned; the walls were covered with soot in lumps 
and stripes pointing towards the fireplace. The explana- 
tion of the accident was simple enough. The draught 
had been insufificient, and a quantity of gas had formed 
which had not been able to burn until air was let in by 
Fettersen opening the door. 

" This is a good beginning. I told Pettersen in the 
evening that I would do the cooking myself next day, 
when the real trial was to be made. I3ut he would not 
hear of such a thing; he said ' I was not to think that he 
minded a trifle like that; I might trust to its being all 
right'— and it tvas all right. From that day I heard 
nothing but praise of the new apparatus, and it was used 
until the Fram was out in the open sea again. 

"Thursday, September 6th. 81° 13.7' north latitude. 
Have I been married five years to-day? Last year this 
was a day of victory — when the ice -fetters burst at 

* Pettersen had been advanced from smitli to cook, and he and Juell 
took turns of a fortnight each in the galley. 

iJ 1 

' -^"■:i.J' "•*-''<"i..r.«»Kn» 



-~ ^'1 



Taimur Island — but there is no thouglit of victory now; 
we are not so far north as I had expected; the north- 
west wind has come again, and we are drifting south. 
And yet the future does not seem to me so lono- and 
so dark as it sometimes has done. Next September 
6th .. . can it be possible that then every fetter will 
have burst, and we shall be sitting together talkino- of 
this time in the far north and of all the lono-ino-, as of 
something that once was and that will never be ao-ain ? 
The long, long night is past; the morning is just break- 
ing, and a glorious new day lies before us. And what 
is there against this happening next year? Why should 
not this winter carry the Fram west to some place 
north of Franz Josef Land? . . . and then my time 
has come, and off I go with dogs and sledges — to the 
north. My heart beats with joy at the very thought 
of it. The winter shall be spent in making every 
preparation for that expedition, and it will pass quickly. 

" I have already spent much time on these prepara- 
tions. I think of everything that must be taken, and 
how it is to be arranged, and the more I look at the 
thing from all points of view, the more firmly convinced 
do I become that the attempt will be successful, if only 
the Fram can get north in reasonable time, not too late 
in the spring. If she could just reach 84° or 85°, then 
I should be off in the end of February or the first days 
of March, as soon as the daylight comes, after the long 
winter night, and the whole would go like a dance. 





V !■ 1 




!!»■* t 

Only four or five months, and the time for action will 
have come again. What joy! When I look out over 
the ice now it is as if my muscles quivered with lono-- 
ing to be striding off over it in real earnest — fatio-ue 
and privation will then be a delight. It may seem 
foolish that I should be determined to go off on this 
expedition, when, perhaps, I might do more important 
work quietly here on board. But the daily observations 
will be carried on exactly the same. 

" I have celebrated the day by arranging my work- 
room for the winter. I have put in a petroleum stove, 
and expect that this will make it warm enough even in 
the coldest weather, with the snowballs that I intend 
to build round the outside of it, and a good roof-cov- 
ering of snow. At least, double the amount of work 
will be done if this cabin can be used in winter, and I 
can sit up here instead of in the midst of the racket 
below. I have such comfortable times of it now, in 
peace and quietness, letting my thoughts take their way 

" Sunday, September 9th. 81° 4' north latitude. The 
midnight sun disappeared some days ago, and already 
the sun sets in the northwest; it is gone by 10 o'clock 
in the evening, and there is once more a glow over the 
eternal white. Winter is coming fast. 

" Another peaceful Sunday, with rest from work, and 
a little reading. Out snow-shoeing to-day I crossed 
several frozen -over lanes, and very slight packing has 




begun here and there. I was stopped at last by a broad 
open lane lying pretty nearly north and south ; at places 
it was 400 to 500 yards across, and I saw no end to it 
either north or south. The surface was good ; one o-ot 
along quickly, with no exertion at all when it was in the 
direction of the wind. 

" This is undeniably a monotonous life. Sometimes it 
feels to me like a long dark night, my life's ' Ragnarok,'* 
dividing it into two. . . . 'The sun is darkened, the 
summers with it, all weather is weighty with woe'; snow 
covers the earth, the wind whistles over the endless 
plains, and for three years this winter lasts, till comes the 
time for the great battle, and 'men tramp Hel's way.' 
There is a hard struggle between life and death; but 
after that comes the reign of peace. The earth rises 
from the sea again, and decks itself anew with verdure. 
' Torrents roar, eagles hover over them, watching for fish 
among the rocks,' and then 'Valhalla,' fairer than the 
sun, and long length of happy days. 

" Pettersen, who is cook this week, came in here this 
evening, as usual, to get the bill of fare for next day. 
When his business was done, he stood for a minute, and 
then said that he had had such a strange dream last 
night; he had wanted to be taken as cook with a new 
expedition, but Dr. Nansen wouldn't have him. 
"'And why not.?' 





" Twilight of the gods." 



\K ■ 





"'Well, this was how it was: I dreamed that Dr. 
Nansen was going off across the ice to the Pole with four 
men, and I asked to be taken, but you said that you 
didn't need a cook on this expedition, and I thought that 
was queer enough, for you would surely want food on 
this trip as well. It seemed to me that you had ordered 
the ship to meet you at some other place ; anyhow, you 
were not coming back here, but to some other land. It's 
strange that one can lie and rake up such a lot of non- 
sense in one's sleep.' 

'"That was perhaps not such very great nonsense, 
Pettersen; it is quite possible that we might have to 
make such an expedition; but if we did, we should 
certainly not come back to the Fram: 

'"Well, if that happened, I would ask to go, sure 
enough ; for it's just what I should like. I'm no ^reat 
snow-shoer, but I would manage to keep up somehow.' 

"'That's all very well; but there's a great deal of 
weary hard work on a journey like that; you needn't 
think it's all pleasure.' 

"'No, no one would expect that; but it would be all 
right if I might only go.' 

'" But there might be worse than hardships, Pettersen. 
It would more than likely mean risking your life.' 

" ' I don't care for that either. A man has got to die 

'"Yes, but you don't want to shorten your life.' 

" ' Oh, I would take my chance of that. You can lose 




your life at home, too, though, perhaps, not quite so 
easily as here. But if a man was always to be thinking 
about that he would never do anythino-.' 

'"That's true. Anyhow, he would not need to come 
on an expedition like this. But remember that a journey 
northward over the ice would be no child's play.' 

'"No, I know that well enough, but if it was with you 
I shouldn't be afraid. It would never do if we had to 
manage alone. We'd be sure to go wrong; but it's 
quite a different thing, you see, when there is one to 
lead that you know has been through it all before.' 

"It is extraordinary the blind faith such men have 
in their leader! I believe they would set off without 
a moment's reflection if they were asked to join in an 
expedition to the Pole now, with black winter at the 
door. It is grand as long as the faith lasts, but God be 
merciful to him on the day that it fails ! 

"Saturday, September 15th. This evening we have 
seen the moon again for the first time — beautiful full 
moon— and a few stars were also visible in the night 
sky, which is still quite light. 

"Notices were posted up to-day in several places. 
They ran as follows : 






i : 

'"As fire here on board might be followed by the 
most terrible consequences, too great precaution cannot 
be taken. For this reason every man is requested to 
observe the following rules most conscientioush : 


1 • 


1. No one is to carry matches. 

2. The only places where matches may be kept are — 

(i) The galley, where the cook for the time being 
is responsible for them. 

(2) The four single cabins, where the inmate of 

each is responsii^lr f- his bux. 

(3) The work-cabin, wh'; / ^-k is croinsr on 

(4) On the mast in the saloon, from which neither 

box nor single matches must be taken away 
under any circumstances. 

3. Matches must not be struck anywhere except in the 

places above named. 

4. The one exception to the above rules is made when 

the forge has to be lighted. 

5. All the ship's holds are to be inspected every 

evening at 8 o'clock by the fire-inspector, who will 
give in his report to the undersigned. After that 
time no one may, without special permission, take 
a light into the holds or into the engine-room. 

6. Smoking is only allowed in the living-rooms and 

on deck. Lighted pipes or cigars must on no 
account be seen elsewhere. 

Fridtjof Nansen. 
/v'^?w/, September 15th, 1894.' 

" Some of these regulations may seem to infringe on 
the principle of equality which I have been so anxious to 




maintain ; but these seem to me the best arrangements I 
can make to insure the good of all-and that must come 
before everything else. 

" Friday, September 2 ist. We have had tremendously 

strong wind from the northwest and north for some days 

with a velocity at times of 39 and 42 feet. Durin.. this' 

tmie we must have drifted a good way south. ' The Rid 

ical R,ght' had got hold of the helm, said Amundsen- 

but their time in power was short; for it fell calm yester' 

day and now we are going north again, and it looks as 

If the ' Left ' were to have a spell at the helm, to repair 

the wrongs done by the ' Right.' 

" Kennels for the dogs have been built this week-a 
row of splendid ice-houses along the port side of the 
ship; four dogs in each house; good warm winter quar- 
ters. In the meantime our eight little pups are thriving 
on board ; they have a grand world to wander round 
-the whole fore- deck, with an awning over it You 
can hear their little barks and yelps as they rush about 
among shavings, hand-sledges, the steam-winch, mill-axle 
and other odds ana ends. They play a little and they 
fight a httle, and forward under the forecastle they have 
their bed among the shavings-a very cozy corner, where 
' Kvik ' hes stretched out like a lioness in all her majesty 
There they tumble over each other in a heap round her 
sleep, yawn, eat, and pull each others tails. It is a pict- 
ure of home and peace here near the Pole which one 
could watch by the hour. 






" Life goes its regular, even, uneventful way, quiet as 
the ice itself; and yet it is wonderful how quickly the 
time passes. The equinox has come, the nights are be- 
ginning to turn dark, and at noon the sun is only 9 de- 
grees above the horizon. I pass the day busily here in 
the work cabin, and often feel as if I were sitting in my 
study at home, with all the comforts of civilization round 
me. If it were not for the separation, one could be as 
well off here as there. Sometimes I forget where I am. 
Not infrequently in the evening, when I have been sitting 
absorbed in work, I have jumped up to listen when the 
dogs barked, thinking to myself, who can be coming.? 
Then I remember that I am not at home, but drifting out 
in the middle of the frozen Polar Sea, at the commence- 
ment of the second long Arctic niirht. 

"The temperature has been down to 1.4° Fahr. be- 
low zero (-17° C.) to-day; winter is coming on fast. 
There is little drift just now, and yet we are in good 
spirits. It was the same last autumn equinox; but how 
many disappointments we have had since then! How 
terrible it was in the later autumn when every calcu- 
lation seemed to fail, as we drifted farther and farther 
south ! Not one bright spot on our horizon ! But such 
a time will never come again. There may still be great 
relapses; there may be slow progress for a time; but 
there is no doubt as to the future; we see it dawning 
bright in the west, beyond the Arctic night. 

" Sunday, September 23d. It was a year yesterday 



since we made fast for tlie first time to the great hum- 
iTiOck in the ice. Hansen improved the occasion by 
mr.king a chart of our drift for the year. It does not 
look so very bad, though the distance is not great; the 
direction is almost exactly what I had expected. But 
more of this to-morrow; it is so late that I cannot write 
about it now. The nights are turning darker and darker; 
winter is settling down upon us. 

"Tuesday, September 25th. I have been looking 
more carefully at the calculation of our last year's drift 
If we reckon from the place where we were shut in 
on the 2 2d of September last year to our position on 
the 22d of September this year, the distance we have 
drifted is 189 miles, equal to 3° 9' latitude. Reckoning 
from the same place, but to the farthest north point 
we reached in summer (July i6th), makes the drift 
225 miles, or 3° 46'. But if we reckon from our most 
southern point in the autumn of last year (November 
7th) to our most northern point this summer, then the 
drift is 305 miles, or 5° 5'. We got fully 4° north, from 
if 43' to 81° 53'. To give the course of the drift is 
a difficult task in these latitudes, as there is a per- 
ceptible deviation of the compass with every degree of 
longitude as one passes east or west; the change, of 
course, given in degrees will be almost exactly the same 
as the number of degrees of longitude that have been 
passed. Our average course will be about N. 36° W. 
The direction of our drift is consequently a much more 







Ik ij 

1 1 

northerly one than the Jeanneties was, and this is just 
what we expected; ours cuts hers at an ani^Ie of 59". 
The line of this year's drift continued will cut the north- 
east island of Spitsbergen, and take us as far north as 
84° 7', in 75° east longitude, somewhere N.N.E. of Franz 
Josef Land. The distance by this course to the North- 
east Island is 827 miles. Should we continue to pro- 
gress only at the rate of 189 miles a year it would take 
us 4.4 years to do this distance. But assuming (nir 
progress to be at the rate of 305 miles a year, we shall 
do it in 2.7 years. That we should drift at least as 
quickly as this seems probable, because we can hardly 
now be driven back as we were in October last year, 
when we had the open water to the south and the great 
mass of ice to the north of us. 

" The past summer e.eems to me to have proved that 
while the ice is very unwilling to go back south it is 
most ready to go northwest as soon as there is e 'er so 
little easterly, not to mention southerly, wind. I therefore 
believe, as I always have believed, that the drift will 
become faster as we get farther northwest, and the 
probability is that the Fram will reach Norway in two 
years, the expedition having lasted its full three years, 
as I somehow had a feeling that it would. As our 
drift is 59° more northerly than the Jeanncttcs, and as 
Franz Josef Land must force the ice north (taking for 
granted that all that comes from this s:reat basin goes 
round to the north of Franz Josef Land), it is probable 


that our course will become more northerly the farther 
on we go, until we are past iM-anz J.sof Land, and that 
we shall consequently reach a higher latitude than our 
drift so far would indicate. I hope 85' at least. Every- 
thing has come right so far; the direction of our drift is 
exactly parallel with the course which I conjectured to 
have been taken by the floe with x\w. Jcannette relics, and I pricked out on the chart prepared for my London 
Address.* This course tou.^hed about cSj.r north lati- 
tude. I have no right to exj^cct a mor.i northerly drift 
than parallel to this, and have no right to be anything 
but happy if I get as far. Our aim, as I have so often 
tried to make clear, is not so much to reach the point in 
which the earth s axis terminates, as to traverse and ex- 
plore the unknown Polar Sea; and yet I should like to 
get to the Pole, too, and hope that it will be possible to 
do so, if only we can reach 84° or 85° by March. And 
why should we not .? 

" Thursday, September 27th. Have determined that, 
beginning from to-morrow, every man is to go out snow' 
shoeing two hours daily, from 11 to i, so long as the 
daylight lasts. It is necessary. If anything happened 
that obliged us to make our way home over the ice, I am 
afraid some of the company would be a terrible hinderance 
to us, unpractised as they are now. Several of them are 

* See Geographical Journal, London. .S93. See also the 
Na^ren, .890. and the Norwegian Geographical Society's Year Book, I.. 



map in 




first-rate snovv-shocrs, but five or six of them would soon 
be feeling the pleasures of learniniif; if they had to go 
out oil a long course, and without snow-shoes, it would 
be all over with us. 

" After this we used to go out regularly in a bod\'. 
Besides being good exercise, it was also a great pleasure; 


(liy //. Jigiiliiis, from a l'/iiitogni/>/i) 

every one seemed to thrive on it, and they all became 
accustomed to the use of the shoes on this ground, even 
though they often got them broken in the unevennesses 
of the pressure-ridges ; we just patched and riveted them 
together to break them again. 

" Monday, October ist. We tried a hand-sledu-e to- 



day with a load of 250 pounds. It went along easily and 
yet was hard to draw, because the snow-shoes were apt to 
shp to the side on the sort of surface we had. I ahnost 
beheve that Indian snow-shoes would be better on this 
ground, whore there are so many knobs and smooth 
hillocks to draw the sledj^es over. When Amundsen first 
began to pull the sled.^^e he thought it was nothing at 
all; but when he had gone on for a time he fell inU. a 
fit of deep and evidently sad thought, and went silently 
home. When he got on board he confided to the others 
that ,f a man had to draw a load like that he might just 
as well lie down at once~it would come to th"^ same 
thing in the end. That is how practice is apt to cr„ j,, 
the afternoon I yoked three dogs to the samt' little 
sledge with the 250-pound load, and they drew it alona 
as if It were nothing at all. ** 

" Tuesday October 2d. Beautiful weather, but coldish • 
49^^ Fahr. of frost (-27° C.) during the night, which is a 
good deal for October, surely. It will be a cold winter 
if It goes on at the same rate. Hut what do we care 
whether there are 90° of frost or 120".? A good snow- 
shoeing excursion to-day. They are all becoming most 
expert now; but darkness will be on us presently, and 
then there will be no more of it. It is a pity ; this exer- 
CISC is so good for us-we must think of something to 
take its place. 

" I have a feeling now as if this were to be my last 
winter on board. Will it really come to my going off 

1, > 


north in spring? The experiment in drawing a loaded 
hand-sledge over this ice was certainly anything but 
promising ; and if the dogs should not hold out, or 





{From ii rholot;i\i/>li\ 

should be of less use than we expect ; and if we should 
come to worse ice instead of better — well, we should 
only have ourselves to trust to. But if we can lust o-et 
so far on with the Fram that the distance left to be 
covered is at all a reasonable one, I believe that it is my 
duty to make the venture, and I cannot imagine any 


SI-CO.VD AUTUMIV IX the jcE 54; 

difficulty that will not be overcome when our choice lies 
between death-and onward and home ■ 

"Thursday, October 4th. The ice is rather impassable 

;n paces but there are particular lanes or tracts ^ 

' altogether, ,t is in good condition for sledging and 

now-shoemg, though the surface is rather soft so tha 

he clogs s.nk „, a little. T|..:s is probably chiefly owing 

to there been no strong winds of late, so hat th! 

snow has not been well packed together 

"Life goes on in the regular routine; there is always 

some l,t e p.ece of work turning up to be done. Yeltl 

St::; "',i"f'''^^™"^''"«^^^«-* '^^s 

b and .such a n.serable, thin wretch that he is escap- 

Z ll : ',"""'■ ""'"^ ''"' >.nn»nageable at, 
and, shed about n, all directions; but in a little while 
'bey drew hke old dogs, and were altogether better than 
we e..pected. ■ Kvik,' of course, set then, a noble Z 

anrple. It fell to Mogstads lot to begin the t,.aining, as 
t was h,s week for looking after the dogs. This duty is 
aken ,n turns now, each ,nan has his week of attendL 
to them both morning and aftei-noon. 

" It seems to n,e that a very satisfacto,-y state of feelino- 
preva,ls on bna,-d at present, when we are just enteri,,: 
on our second A,-ctic night, which we hope is to be a 
longe,-, and probably also a colder, one than any people 


! 1. 







before us have experienced. There is appreciably less 
light every day ; soon there will be none ; but the good 
spirits do not wane with the light. It seems to me 
that we are more uniformly cheerful than we have ever 

iJl'V > 




(From a P/iotograp/i) 

been. What the reason of this is I cannot tell ; perhaps 
just custom. But certainly, too, we are well off— in 
clover, as the saying is. We are drifting gently, but it 
is to be hoped surely, on through the dark unknown 





Nivlheim, where terrified fancy has pictured all possible 
horrors Yet we are living a life of luxury and plenty, 
surrounded by all the comforts of civilization. I think 
we shall be better off this winter than last. 

" The firing apparatus in the galley is working splen- 
didly. and the cook himself is now of opinion that it is an 
invention which approaches perfection. So we shall burn 
nothmg but coal-oil there now; it warms the place well 
and a good deal of the heat comes up here into the work ' 
roo,., where I sometimes sit and perspire until I have to 
take off one garment after another, although the window 
IS open, and there are 30 odd degrees of cold outside I 
have calculated that the petroleum which this enable, us 
to keep for lighting purposes only will last at least 10 
years, though we burn it freely 300 days in the year At 
present we are not using petroleum lamps at the rate 
assumed m my calculation, because we frequently have 
electnc light; and then even here summer comes once a 
year, or, at any rate, something which we must call sum- 
mer. Even allowing for accidents, such as the possibility 
of a tank springing a leak and the oil running out, there 
IS still no reason whatever for being sparing of light, and 
every man can have as much as he wants. What this 
means can best be appreciated by one who for a whole 
year has felt the stings of conscience every time he went 
to work or read alone in his cabin, and burned a lamp 
that was not absolutely necessary, because he could have 
used the general one in the saloon. 







" As yet the coals arc not being touched, except for 
the stove in the saloon, where they are to be allowed 
to burn as much as they like this winter. The quantity 
thus consumed will be a trifle in comparison with our 
store of about loo tons, for which we cannot well have 


(From a riiotografli) 

any other use until the Frain once more forces her way 
out of the ice on the other side. Another thins that is 
of no little help in keei)int;- us warm and comfortable is 

It ; 


the awning that is now stretched over the ship.* The 
only part I have left open is the stern, abaft the bridge, 
so as to be able to see round over the ice from there. 

" Personally, I must say that things are going well 
with me; much better than I could have expected. 
Time is a good teacher; that devouring longing does 
not gnaw so hard as it did. Is it apathy beginning? 
Shall I feel nothing at all by the time ten years have 
passed ? Oh ! sometimes it comes on with all its old 
strength, as if it would tear me in pieces! But this is 
a splendid school of patience. Much good it does to sit 
wondering whether they are alive or dead at home; it 
only almost drives one mad. 

"All the same, I never grow quite reconciled to this 
life. It is really ne' •■^- life nor death, but a state be- 
tw-een the tw(x It means never being at rest about any- 
thing or in any place -a constant waiting for what is 
coming; a waiting in which, perhaps, the best years of 
one's manhood will pass. It is like what a young boy 
sometimes feels when he goes on his first voyage. " The 
life on board is hateful to him ; he suffers cruelly from all 
the torments of sea - sickness ; and being shut in within 
the narrow walls of the ship is worse than prison; but 
it is something that has to be gone through. Beyond it 

* We had no covcnns over the ship the first winter, as we thoMght it 
would make it so dari<, and make it dilficult to fmd one's way about on 
deck, nut when we put in on the second winter we founc tha it was 
an improvement. 

W l 

5 so 




I ^ 13' 




all lies the south, the land of his youthful dreams, tempt- 
ing with its sunny smile. In time he arises, half dead. 
Does he find his south ? How often it is but a barren 
desert he is cast ashore on ! 

" Sunday, October 7th. It has cleared up this even- 
ing, and there is a starry sky and aurora borealis. It is 
a little change from the constant cloudy weather, with 
frequent snow -showers, which we have had these last 

" Thoughts come and thoughts go. I cannot forget, 
and I cannot sleep. Everything is still ; all are asleep. 
I only hear the quiet step of the watch on deck ; the 
wind rustling in the rigging and the canvas, and the 
clock gently hackirig the time in pieces there on the wall. 
If I go on deck there is black night, stars sparkling 
high overhead, and faint aurora flickering across the 
gloomy vault, and out in the darkness I can see the 
glimmer of the great monotonous plain of the ice : it is all 
so inexpressibly forlorn, so far, far removed from the 
noise and unrest of men and all their striving. What 
is life thus isolated? A strange, aimless process; and 
man a machine which eats, sleeps, awakes; eats and 
sleeps again, dreams dreams, but never lives. Or is 
life really nothing else? And is it just one more phase 
of the eternal martyrdom, a new mistake of the errinc^ 
human soul, this banishing of one's self to the hopeless 
wilderness, only to long there for what one has left be- 
hind ? Am I a coward ? Am I afraid of death ? Oh, 

,?>*--'UM,r;. ,* **Kt«iSi^^^^ 


no! but in these nights such longing can come over 
one for all beauty, for that which is contained in a sin- 
gle word, and the soul flees from this interminable and 
rigid world of ice. When one thinks how short life 
IS, and that one came away from it all of one's own 
free will, and remembers, too, that another is suffering 
the pain of constant anxiety-' true, true till death ' ' O 
mankmd, thy ways are passing strange! We are but as 
flakes of foam, helplessly driven over the tossing sea ' 

"Wednesday, October loth. Exactly ,, years old. 
hen. There ,s nothing to be said to that, except that 
life IS movmg on, and will never turn back. They 
have all been touchingly nice to me to-day, and we have 
held fete. They surprised me in the morning by hav- 
ing the saloon ornamented with flags. They had hung 
the 'Union' above Sverdrup's place.* We accused 
Amundsen of having done this, but he would not con- 
fess to ,t. Above my door and on over Hansen's they 
had the pennant with Fram in big letters. It looked most 
festive when I came into the saloon, and they all stood 
up and wished me ' Many happy returns.' When I went 
on deck the flag was waving from the mizzenmast-head. 
"We took a snow-shoeing excursion south in the 
morning. It was windy, bitter weather; I have not felt 
so cold for long. The thermometer is down to 24° Fahr 
below zezo (-31° Q this evening; this is certainly 

I I. 


* An allusion, no doubt, to his political opinions {Trans). 




'^ ii 

the coldest birthday I have had yet. A sumptuous- 
dinner: I. Fish -pudding. 2. Sausages and tongue, 
with potatoes, haricot beans, and pease. 3. Preserved 
strawberries, with rice and cream; Crown extract of 
malt. Then, to every one's surprise, our doctor began 
to take out of the pocket of the overcoat he always, 
wears remarkable-looking little glasses— medicine-glass- 
es, measuring -glasses, test-glasses — one for each man,, 
and lastly a whole bottle of Lysholmer liqueur — real na- 
tive Lysholmer — which awakened general enthusiasm. 
Two drams of that per man was not so bad, besides 
a quarter of a bottle of extract of malt. Coffee after 
dinner, with a surprise in the shape of apple - cake, 
baked by our excellent cook, Pettersen, formerly smith 
and engineer. Then I had to produce my cigars,, 
which were also much enjoyed; and of course we 
kept holiday all the afternoon. At supper there was 
another surprise — a large birthday cake from the same 
baker, with the inscription ' T. L. M. D.' (Til lykke 
med dagen, the Norwegian equivalent for ' Wishing a 
happy birthday'), ' 10.10.94.' I" the evening came pine- 
apples, figs, and sweets. Many a worse birthday might 
be spent in lower latitudes than 81°. The evenin(»- is. 
passing with all kinds of merriment ; every one is in 
good spirits; the saloon resounds with laughter — how 
many a merry meeting it has been the scene of! 

" But when one has said good - night and sits here 
alone, sadness comes ; and if one goes on deck there are 


I t 


the stars high overhead in the clear sky. In the south 
IS a smouldering aurora arch, which from time to time 
sends up streamers; a constant, restless flickerincr 

"We have been talking a little about this expedition, 
Sverdrup and I. When we were out on the ice in the 


afternoon he suddenly said, ' Yes, next October 30U will 
perhaps, not be on board the Fram: To which I had to 
answer that, unless the winter turned out badly, I prob- 
ably should not. But still I cannot believe in this ri^htl v 
myself. ^ ^ 

! m\ 




•' Every night I dm at home in my dreams, but when 
the morning breaks I must again, h'ke Helge, gallop 
back on the pale horse by the way of the reddening 
dawn, not to the joys of Valhalla, but to the realm of 
eternal ice. 

'"For thee alone Sigrun, 
Of tlie S;i;va Mountain, 
Must Hclgc swim 
In the dew of sonovv." 

"Friday, October 12th. A regular storm has been 
blowing from the E.S.E. since yesterday evening. Last 
night the mill went to bits; the teeth broke off one of 
the toothed wheels, which has been considerably worn 
by a year's use. The velocity of the wind was over 40 
feet this morning, and it is long since I have heard it 
blow as it is doing this evening. We must be making 
good progress north just now. Perhaps October is not 
to be such a bad month as I expected from our experi- 
ences of last year. Was out snow-shoeing before din- 
ner. The snow was whisding about my ears. I had 
not much trouble in getting back ; the wind saw to that. 
A tremendous snow squall is blowing just now. The 
moon stands low in the southern sky, sending a dull 
glow through the driving masses. One has to hold on 
to one's cap. This is a real dismal polar night, such as 
one imagines it to one's self sitting at home far away in 
the south. But it makes me cheerful to come on deck, 
for I feel that we are moving onward. 

".Saturday, October 13th. Same wind to-day; 


.» * * 













M JfeiriiiVii i 



■ f » 1 
lit!'' 1 





velocity up to 39 feet and h.Vh.r. but Hansen has taken 
an observation this evening in spite of it. He is. as al- 
ways, a fine, indefatigable fellow. We are going north- 
west (8r> 3.' 8' latitude. , ..r .8' east longitude) 

" Sunday, October ,4th. Still the same storm going 
on. I am reading of the continual sufferings which 
the earlier Arctic explorers had to contend with for 
every degree, even for every minute, of their northward 
course. It gives n.e almost a feeling of contempt for 
us, lymg here on sofas, warm and comfortable, passing 
the tmie reading and writing and smoking and dream- 
ing, wh.le the storm is tugging and tearing at the rigging 
above us and the whole sea is one nuass of driving 
snow, through which we are carried degree by degree 
northward to the goal our predecessors struggled tow- 
ards, spendmg their strength in vain. And yet . . . 

•"Now sinks the sun. now comes the night.' 

"Monday. October 15th. Went snow -shoeing east- 
ward th.s morning, still against the same wind and the 
same snowfall. You have to pay careful attention to 
your course these days, as the ship is not visible any 
great distance, and if you did not find your way back 
well- But the tracks remain pretty distinct, as 
the ,now- crust is blown bare in most places, and the 
drifting snow does not fasten upon it. We are moving 
northward, and meanwhile the Arctic night is makin^ 
Its slow and majestic entrance. The sun was low to-day" 








W 1 

i4 i, 

I did not see it because of banks of cloud in the south ; 
but it still sent its light up over the pale sky. There the 
full moon is now reigning, bathing the great ice plain and 
the drifting snow in its bright light. How a night such 
as this raises one's thoughts! It does not matter if one 
has seen the like a thousand times before ; it makes the 
same solemn impression when it comes again; one can- 
not free one's mind from its power. It is like entering a 
still, holy temple, where the spirit of nature hovers through 
the place on glittering silver beams, and the soul must 
fall down and adore — adore the infinity of the universe. 
"Wednesday, October 17th. We are employed in 
taking deep-water temperatures. It is a doubtful 
pleasure at this time of year. Sometimes the water- 
lifter gets coated with ice, so that it will not close 
down below in the water, and has, therefore, to hang for 
ever so long each time ; and sometimes it freezes tight 
during the observation after it is brought up, so that the 
water will not run out of it into the sample bottles, not 
to mention all the bother there is getting the apparatus 
ready to lower. We are lucky if we do not require to 
take the whole thing into the galley every time to thaw 
it. It is slow work ; the temperatures have sometimes 
to be read by lantern light. The water samples are not 
so reliable, because they freeze in the lifter. But the 
thing can be done, and we must just go on doing it. 
The same easterly wind is blowing, and we are drifting 
onward. Our latitude this evening is about 81 " 47' N. 



'1 ', 



" Thursday, October i8th. I continue taking the tern- 
peratures of the water, rather a cool amusement with the 
thermometer down to -29° C. (20.2° Fahr. below zero) 
and a wind blowing. Your fingers are apt to get a little 
stiff and numb when you have to manipulate the wet or 
ice -covered metal screws with bare hands and have to 
read off the thermometer with a magnifying - glass in 
order to insure accuracy to the hundredth part of a de- 
gree, and then to bottle the samples of water, which you 
have to keep close against your breast, to prevent the 
water from freezing. It is a nice business ! 

" There was a lovely aurora borealis at 8 o'clock this 
evening. Ic wound itself like a fiery serpent in a double 
coil across the sky. The tail was about 10° above the 
horizon in the north. Thence it turned off with many 
windings in an easterly direction, then round again, and 
westward in the form of an arch from 30° to 40° above 
the horizon, sinking down again to the west and rolling 
itself up into a ball, from which several branches spread 
out over the sky. The arches were in active motion, 
while pencils of streamers shot out swiftly from the west 
towards the east, and the whole serpent kept incessantly 
undulating into fresh curves. Gradually it mounted up 
over the sky nearly to the zenith, while at the same time 
the uppermost bend or arch separated into several fainter 
undulations, the ball in the northeast glowed intensely, 
and brilliant streamers shot upwards to the zenith from 
several places in the arches, especially from the ball and 





from the bend farthest away in the northeast. The illu- 
mination was now at its highest, the color being princi- 
pally a strong yellow, though at some spots it verged tow- 
ards a yellowish red, while at other places it was a greenish 
white. When the upper wave reached the zenith the 
phenomenon lost something of its brilliancy, dispersing 
little by little, leaving merely a faint indication of an 
aurora in the southern sky. On coming up again on 
deck later in the evening, I found nearly the whole of 
the aurora collected in the southern half of the sky. A 
low arch, 5' in height, could be seen far down in the 
south over the dark segment of the horizon. Between 
this and the zenith were four other vague, wavy arches, 
the topmost of which passed right across it; here and 
there vivid streamers shot flaming upward, especially 
from the undermost arch in the south. No arch vas to 
be seen in the northern part of the sky, only streamers 
ever) here and there. To-night, a.-, usual, there are 
traces of aurora to be seen over the whole sky ; light 
mists or streamers are often plainly visible, and the sky 
seems to be constantly covered with a luminous veil,* in 
which every here and there are dark holes. 

* This luminous veil, wiiicii was always spread over the sky. was less 
distinct on the firmament immediately overhead, but became more and 
more conspicuo near the horizon, thouyh ii never actually reached 
down to It ; ind. , in the north and south it generally terminated in a 
low, famtly outlined arch over a kind of dark segment. The luminosity 
of this veil was so stron- that through it I could never witli any certainty 
distinguish the Milky VV^ay. 

,1 V 




(From a Photogyaph) 

" There is scarcely any night, or rather I may safely 
say there is no night, on which no trace of aurora can be 
discerned as soon as the sky becomes clear, or even when 
there is simply a rift in the clouds large enough for it 
to be seen; and as a rule we have strong light phe- 
nomena dancing in ceaseless unrest over the fimiament. 



[..' , V' 

They mainly appear, however, in the southern part of 
the sky. 

" Friday, October 19th. A fresh breeze from E.S.E. 
Drifting northward at a good pace. Soon we shall prob- 
ably have passed the long-looked-for 82°, and that will not 
be far from 82" 27', when the Fram will be the vessel that 
will have penetrated farthest to the north on this globe. 
But the barometer is falling; the wind probably will not 
remain in that quarter long, but will shift round to the 
west. I only hope for this once the barometer may prove 
a false prophet. I have become rather sancjuine ; things 
have been going pretty well for so long; and October, a 
month which hst year's experience had made me dread, 
has been a month of marked advance, if only it doesn't 
end badly. 

" The wind to-day, however, was to cost a life. The 
mill, which had been repaired after the mishap to the 
cog-wheel the other day, was set going again. In the 
afternoon a couple of the puppies began fighting over a 
bone, when one of them fell underneath one of the coo-- 
wheels on the a.xle of the mill, and was dragged in be- 
tween it and the deck. Its poor little body nearly made 
the whole thing come to a standstill ; and, unfortunately, 
no one was on the spot to stop it in time. I heard the 
noise, and rushed on deck; the puppy had just been 
drawn out nearly dead; the whole of its stomach was 
torn open. It gave a faint whine, and was at once put 
out of its misery. Poor little frolicsome creature : Only a 



little while ago you were gambolling 
innocent romp with your brothers and 

around, enjoying an 
sisters ; then came 


the thigh-bone of a bear trundling along the deck fi 
the galley; you and the others made a headlong rush for 
it, and now there you lie, cruelly lacerated and dead as a 
herring. Fate is inexorable ! 

" Sunday, October 31st. North latitude 82' 0.2' ; east 
longitude 114^ 9'. It is late in the evening, and my 
head is bewildered, as if I had been indulging in a reg- 
ular debauch, but it was a debauch of a very innocent 

"A grand banquet to-day to celebrate the eighty- 
second degree of latitude. The observation gavtT 82'' 
0.2' last night, and we have now certainly drifted a little 
farther north. Honey-cakes (gingerbread) were baked 
for the occn.on f^rst-class honey-cakes, too, you may 
take my word for it; and then, after a refreshing snow- 
shoe run, came a festal banquet. Notices were stuck up 
in the saloon requesting the guests to be punctual at 
dinner-time, for the cook had exerted himself to the 
utmost of his power. The following deeply felt lines by 
an anonymous Moet also appeared on a placard : 

•"When dinner is punctually served at the time. 
No fear that the milk soup will surely be prime; 
Rut the viands arc spoiled if you come to it late, 
The fish-puddins will lie on your chest a dead weight; 
What's preserved in tin cases, there can be no doubt. 
If you wait long enough will force its way out, 
Even meat of the ox. of the sheep, or of swine. 
Very different in this from ? juice of the vine! 



t. f ' 


Ra„,orn,e. »,„! An„„„r, and Thornc. anrt llorr TJ.II, 
0<.„d „,c,u, have preserved, and they las.e n„, an,i„ 
S" 111 ,ns. a,ld aw„r,l, friends, of w„r„i„„^ ,„ ,„„'."" ' 

If you want a food dinner, eon,e a. „„e. no. at two.' 

Tl,e lyric n,elancholy which here finds uttcr.-,„ce must 
have been the outcome of many bitter disappoint- 
ments, and furnishes a valuable internal evideuc.. as 
to tne anonymous author's profession. Meanwhile the 
guests asscnbled with tolerable punctuality, the ..nly 
exception being your humble servant, who was obliged 
to take son,e photographs in the rapidly waning Tay- 
hght. The menu was splendid: ,. 0...tail soup . 
F,sh-pudding, with melted butter and potatoes. 3 Turtle' 
w,th marrowfat pease, etc., etc. 4. Rice, with multer 
(cloudberries) and cream; Crown malt e.vtract. After 
dinner, coffee and honeycakes. After supper, which 
also was e.vcellent, there was a call for music, which 
was liberally supplied throughout the whole evenino by 
various accomplished performers on the organ, a,™„. 
whom Bentzen specially distinguished himself, his late 
experiences on the ice with the ciank- handle* havino- 
put h,m in fi,-st-iate training. Eveiy now and thci, the 
music dr.agged a bit, as thotigh it were being hauled 
tip from an abyss some iooo or ,500 fathoms deep- 
then it would quicken and get n,„i-e lively, as it came' 
nearer to the sui-face. At last the excitement rose to 

* Used in hoisting up the lead-line. 





'< ll 

I I 

L e:f^/M 



such a pitch that Pettersen anrl I had to get up and 
have a dance, a wait/ and a polka or two; and we really 
executed some very tasteful pas de deux on the limited 
floor of the saloon. Then Amundsen also was swept 
into the mazes of the dance, while the others played 
cards. Meanwhile refreshments were served in the form 
of preserved peaches, dried bananas, figs, honey -cakes, 
etc., etc. In short, we made a jovial evening of it, and 
why should we not.? V\^e are progressing merrily tow. 
ards our goal, we are already half-way between the New 
Siberian Islands and iM-anz Josef Land, and there is not 
a soul on board who doubts that we shall accomplish 
what we came out to do; so long live merriment! 

" But the endless stillness of the polar night holds its 
•sway aloft; the moon, half full, shines over^he ice, and 
the stars sparkle brilliantly overhead ; there are no rest- 
less northern lights, and the south uind sighs mourn- 
fully through the rigging. A deep, jDcaceful stillness pre- 
vails everywhere. It is the infinite loveliness of death- 

"Monday, October 22d. It is beginning to be cold 
now; the thermometer was -34.6' C. (30.2° Fahr. below 
zero) last night, and this evening it is -36° C. (32.8 Fahn 
below zero). 

"A lovely aurora this evening (11.30). A "brilliant 
corona encircled the zenith with a wreath of streamers 
in several layers, one outside the other ; then larger and 
smaller sheaves of streamers spread over the sky, 





'if' ■ 


cspt'ciiilly low (l(i\vi\ towards S.W. and ICS.!*:. All of 
them, however, tended upward towards the corona, 
which shone like a halo. I stood watching it a long 
while. Kvery now and then I could discern a dark patch 
in its middle, at the point where all the rays converged. 
It lay a little south of the Pole-star, and approached 
Cassiopeia in the position it then occupied. Hut the 
halo kept smouldering and shifting just as if a gale in 
the ujjpcr strata of the atmosphere were playing the 
bellows to it. Presently fresh streamers shot out of the 
darkness outside the inner halo, followed by other bri<«ht 
shafts of light in a still wider circle, and meanwhile the 
dark space in the middle was clearly visible ; at other 
times it was entirely covered with masses of light. Then 
it appeared as if the storm abated, and the whole turned 
pale, and glowed with a faint whitish hue for a little 
vi'hile, only to shoot wildly up once more and to begin 
the same dance over again. Then the entire mass of 
light around the corona began to rock to and fro in large 
waves over the zenith and the dark central point, where- 
upon the gale seemed to increase and whirl the stream- 
ers into an inextricable tangle, till they merged into a 
luminous vapor, that enveloped the corona and drowned 
it in a deluge of light, so that neither it, nor the stream- 
ers, nor the dark centre could be seen— nothing, in fact, 
but a chaos of shining mist. Again it became paler, 
and I went below. At midnight there was hardly any- 
thing of the aurora to be seen. 



(lay, October 26tli. Ycsterrlay evening we were 

in 82 3' north latitude. To-day the / 
old. The sky has been 

rotn i.s two 


days, and it has been so dark at niidd 
we .should soon have to st 
Hut this morn 

overcast during the last two 

iiy that I thoufrht 


p our snow-shoe expedition.s. 
g brought us clear still weather, aiifl I 
went out on a delightful trip to the westward, where 
there had been a good deal of fresh packing, but iH,th- 
ing of any importance. In honor of the occasion we had 
a particularly good dinner, with fried halibut, turtle, pork 
chops, with haricot beans and green pease, plum-pudding 
(real burning plum-pudding for the first time) with cus- 
tard sauce, and wound up with strawberries. As usual, 
the beverages consisted of wine (that is to say, lime-juice! 
with water and sugar) and Crown malt extract. I fear 
there was a general overtaxing of the digestive appara- 
tus. After dinner, coffee and ho.ieycakes, with which 
Nordahl stood cigarettes. (General holiday. 

"This evening it has begun to blow from the north, 
but probably this does not mean much ; I must hope so! 
a. all events, and trust that we shall soon get a south 
wind again. But it is not the mild zephyr we yearn for, 
not the breath of the blushing dawn. No, a co'ld, biting 
south wind, roaring with all the force of the Polar .Sea, 
so that the Fmm, the two-year-old Fram. may be buried 
in the snow-storm, and all around her be but a reeking 
frost— it is this we are waiting for, this that will drift us 
onward to our goal. To-day, then, Fram. thou art two 





years old. I said at the dinner-table that if a year ago 
we were unanimous in believing that the Fram was a 
good ship, we had much better grounds for that belief 
to-day, for safely and surely she is carrying us onward, 
even if the speed be not excessive, and so we drank the 
Frams good health and good progress. I did not say too 
much. Had I said all that was in my heart, my words 
would not have been so measured ; for, to say the truth, 
we all of us dearly love the ship, as much as it is possible 
to love any impersonal thing. And why should we not 
love her } No mother can give her young more warmth 
and safety under her wings than she affords to us. She 
is indeed like a home to us. We all rejoice to return to 
her from out on the icy plains, and when I have been far 
away and have seen her masts risins: over the everlasting- 
mantle of snow, how often has my heart glowed with 
warmth towards her! To the builder of this home 
grateful thoughts often travel during the still nights. 
He, I feel certain, sits yonder at home often thinking 
■of us; but he knows not where his thouijht can seek 
the Fram in the great white tract around the Pole. 
But he knows his child ;^ and though all else lose faith 
in her, he will believe that she will hold out. Yes, Colin 
Archer, could you see us now, you would know that your 
faith in her is not misplaced. 

" I am sitting alone in my berth, and my thoughts 
glide back over the two years that have passed. What 
demon is it that weaves the threads of our lives, that 



makes us deceive ourselves, and ever sends us forth on 
paths we have not ourselves laid out— paths on which we 
have no desire to walk ? Was it a mere feeling of duty 
that impelled me ? Oh no ! I was simply a child yearn- 
ing for a great adventure out in the unknown, who had 
dreamed of it so long that at last I believed it really 
awaited me. And it has, indeed, fallen to my lot, the 
great adventure of the ice, deep and pure as infinity; the 
silent, starlit polar night; nature itself in its profundity; 
the mystery of life ; the ceaseless circling of the universe;' 
the feast of death— without suffering, without regret- 
eternal in itself. Here in the great night thou standest 
in all thy naked pettiness, face to face with nature ; and 
thou sittest devoutl3^ at the feet of eternity, intently lis- 
tening ; and thou knowest God the all-ruling, the centre 
of the universe. All the riddles of life seem to grow 
clear to thee, and thou laughest at thyself that "thou 
couldst be consumed by brooding, it is all so little, so 
unutterably little. ... ' Whoso sees Jehovah dies.' 

" Sunday, November 4th. At noon I had gone out 
on a snow-shoe expedition, and had taken some of the 
dogs with me. Presently I noticed that those that had 
been left behind at the ship began to bark. Those with 
me pricked up their ears, and several of them started off 
back, with ' Ulenka ' at their head. Most of them soon 
stopped, listening and looking behind them to see if I 
were following. I wondered for a little while whether 
it could be a bear, and then continued on my way ; but 




\m < 

at length I could stand it no longer, and set off home- 
ward, with the dogs dashing wildly on in front. On ap- 
proaching the ship I saw some of the men setting off 
with guns; they were Sverdrup, Johansen, Mogstad, and 
Henriksen. They had got a good start of me in the 
direction in which the dogs were barking before I, too,, 
got hold of a gun and set off after them. All at once I 
saw through the darkness the flash of a volley from those 
in front, followed by another shot; then several more,, 
until at last it sounded like regular platoon firing. What 
the deuce could it be.? They were standing on the 
same spot, and kept firing incessantly. Why on earth 
did they not advance nearer.? I hurried on, thinkino- it 
was high time I came up with my snow-shoes to follow 
the game, which must evidently be in full flight. Mean- 
while they advanced a little, and then there was another 
flash to be seen through the darkness, and so they went 
on two or three times. One of the number at last 
dashed forward over the ice and fired straight down in 
front of him, while another knelt down and fired towards 
the east. Were they trying their guns.? But surely it 
was a strange time for doing so, and there were so many 
shots. Meanwhile the dogs iore around over the ice, 
and gathered in clumps, barking furiously. At length I 
overtook them, and saw three bears scattered over the 
ice, a she-bear and two cubs, while the dogs lay over 
them, worrying them like mad and tearing away at paws» 
throat, and tail. ' Ulenka' especially was beside herself. 



She had gripped one of the cubs by the throat, and wor- 
ried it Hke a mad thing, so that it was difficult to get h^r 
away. The bears had gone very leisurely away from the 
dogs, which dared not come to sufficiently close quarters 
to use their teeth till the old she-bear had been wounded 
and had fallen down. The bears, indeed, had acted in a 
very suspicious manner. It seemed just as if the she- 
bear had some deep design, some evil intent, in her mind, 
if she could only have lured the dogs near enough to 
her. Suddenly she halted, let the cubs go on in front, 
sniffed a little, and then came back to meet the dogs,' 
who at the same time, as if at a word of command, all 
turned tail and set off towards the west. It was then 
that the first shot was fired, and the old bear tottered and 
fell headlong, when immediately some of the dogs set to 
and tackled her. One of the cubs then got its'^quietus, 
while the other one was fired at and made off over the 
ice with three dogs after it. They soon overtook it and 
pulled it down, so that when Mogstad came up he was 
obliged first of all to get the dogs off before he could 
venture to shoot. It was a glorious slaughter, and by no 
means unwelcome, for we had that very day eaten the 
last remains of our last bear in the shape of meat- 
cakes for dinner. The two cubs made lovely Christ- 
mas pork. 

"In all probability these were the same bears whose 
tracks we had seen before. Sverdrup and I had followed 
on the tracks of three such animals on the last dav of 



October, and had lost them to N.N.W. of the ship. Ap- 
parently they had come from that quarter now. 

"When they wanted to shoot, Peter's gun, as usual, 
would not go off; it had again been drenched with vas- 
eline, and he kept calling out: 'Shoot! shoot! Mine 
won't go off.' Afterwards, on examining the gun I had 
taken with me to the fray, I found there were no car- 
tridges in it. A nice account I should have given of my- 
self had I come on the bears alone with that weapon ! 

" Monday, November 5th. As I was sitting at work 
last night I heard a dog on the deck howling fearfully. I 
sprang up, and found it was one of the puppies that had 
touched an iron bolt with its tongue and was frozen fast 
to it. There the poor beast was, straining to get free, 
with its tongue stretched out so far that it looked like a 
thin rope proceeding out of its throat; and it was howl- 
ing piteously. Bentzen, whose watch it was, had c(jme 
up, but scarcely knew what to do. He took hold of 
it, however, by the neck, and held it close to the bolt, 
so that its tongue was less extended. After havino; 
warmed the bolt somewhat with his hand, he manaired 
to get the tongue free. The poor little puppy seemed 
overjoyed at its release, and, to show its gratitude, licked 
Benzen's hand with its bloody tongue, and seemed as if 
it could not be grateful enough to its deliverer. It is to 
be hoped that it will be some time before this puppy, at 
any rate, gets fast again in this way; but such things 
happen every now and then. 




" Sunday, November nth. I am pursuing my studies 
as usual day after day; and they lure m.e, too, deeper and 
deeper into the insoluble mystery that lies behind all 
these inquiries. Nay ! why keep revolving in this fruit- 
less circuit of thought? Better go out into the winter 
night. The moon is up, great and yellow and placid; 
the stars are twinkling overhead through the drifting 
snow-dust. . . . Why not rock yourself into a winter 
night's dream filled with memories of summer.? 

" Ugh, no! The wind is howling too shrilly over the 
barren ice-plains; there are 33 degrees of cold, and 
summer, with its flowers, is far, far away. I would give a 
year of my life to hold them in my embrace; they loom 
so far off in the distance, as if 1 should never come back 
to them. 

" But the northern lights, with their eternally shifting 
loveliness, flame over the heavens each day and each 
night. Look at them; drink oblivion and drink hope 
from them : they are even as the aspiring soul of man. 
Restless as it, they will wreathe the whole vault of 
heaven with their glittering, fleeting light, s- rpassing 
all else in their wild loveliness, fairer than even the 
blush of dawn ; but, wnirling idly through empty space, 
they bear no message of a coming day. The sailor 
steers his course by a star. Could you but concentrate 
yourselves, you too, O northern lights, might lend your 
aid to g!"". ' the wildered wanderer! But dance on, and 
let me enj^>y you; stretch a bridge across the gulf 



between the present and the time to come, and let me 
•dream far, far ahead into the future. 

" O thou mysterious radiance ! what art thou, and 
whence comest thou ? Yet why ask ? Is it not enough 
to admire thy beauty and pause there ? Can we at best 
get beyond the outward show of things? What would 
it profit even if we could say that it is an electric dis- 
charge or currents of electricity through the upper re- 
gions of the air, and were able to describe in minutest 
detail how it all came to be? It would be mere words. 
We know no more what an electric current really is than 
what the aurora borealis is. Happy is the child. . . . 
WY'. witli all our views and theories, are not in the last 
analysis a hau s-breadtl- nearer the truth than it. 

"Tuesday, November 13th. Thermometer — 38" C. 
(—364^ Fahr.). The ice is packing in several quarters 
during the day, and the roar is pretty loud, now that the 
ice has become colder. It can be heard from afar — a 
strange roar, which would sound uncanny to any one 
who did not know what it was. 

" A deli"htful snow-shoe run in the liq-ht of the full 
moon. Is life a \'ale of tears? Is it such a deplorable 
fate to dash off like the wind, with all the dogs skipping 
around one, over the boundless expanse of ice, through a 
night like this, in the fresh, crackling frost, while the 
snow-shoes glide over the smooth surface, so that you 
scarcely know you are touching the earth, and the stars 
hang high in the blue vault above? This is more. 


i'i'i iA:'yo;,j uic uuivvaru 

ch.iigv iireiu.-^ 

IS- ^ 

2.2- S 
?= a 

-t = H 

! I -,o 
= = ti 


n. -3 

" S: S" 

t .,1 


^ I 

r «:• 








indeed, than one any right to expect of life; it is a 
fairy tale from another world, from a life to come. 

" And then to return home to one's cozy study-cabin, 
kindle the stove, light the lamp, m a pipe, stretch one's' 
self on the sofa, and send dreams out into the world with 
the curling clouds of smoke-is that a dire infliction? 
Thus I . ich myself sitting staring at the fire for hours 
together, dreaming myself away -a useful way of em- 
ploying the time. But at least it makes it slip unnoticed 
by, until the dreams are swept away in an ice-blast of 
reality, and I sit here in the midst of desolation, and 
nervously set to work again. 

" Wednesday, November 14th. How marvellous are 
these snow-shoe runs through this silent nature! The 
ice-fields stretch all around, bathed in the silver moon- 
light; here and there dark cold shadows project from the 
hummocks, whose sides faintly reflect the twilight. Far, 
far out a dark line marks the horizon, formed by the 
packed-up ice, over it a shimmer of silvery vapor, and 
above all the boundless deep-blue, starry sky, where the 
full moon sails through the ether. But in the south is 
a faint glimmer of day low down of a dark, glowing red 
hue, and higher up a clear yellow and pale-green arch, 
that loses itself in the blue above. The whole melts into 
a pure harmony, one and indescribable. At times one 
longs to be able to translate such scenes into nusic. 
What mighty chords one would require to interpret 
them ! 







V c^ 



< v\ % 


5r «:<5 





ui lis 




14 1 1.6 









WEBSTER, N.Y. 14S80 

(716) 872-45G3 



^.> ^^ 





i. f 


" Silent, oh, so silent ! You can hear the vibrations of 
your own nerves. I seem as if I were gliding over and 
over these plains into infinite space. Is this not an im- 
age of what is to come.? Eternity and peace are here. 
Nirvana must be cold and bright as such an eternal star- 
night. What are all our research and understanding in 
the midst of this infinity .? 

" Frida)^, November i6th. In the forenoon I went 
out with Sverdrup on snow-shoes in the moonlicrht, and 
we talked seriously of the prospects of our drift and of 
the proposed expedition northward over the ice in the 
spring. In the evening we went into the matter 
more thoroughly in his cabin. I stated my views, in 
which he entirely coincided. I have of late been 
meditating a great deal on what is the proper course 
to pursue, supposing the drift does not take us so far 
north by the month of March as I had anticipated. But 
the more I think of it, the more firmly am I persuaded 
that it is the thing to do. For if it be right to set out 
at 85°, it must be no less right to set out at 82° or 83°. 
In either case we should penetrate into more northerly 
regions than we should otherwise reach, and this be- 
comes all the more desirable if the Fram herself does not 
get so far north as we had hoped. If we cannot actually 
reach the Pole, why, we must turn back before reachino- 
it. The main consideration, as I must constantly repeat, 
is not to reach that exact mathematical point, but to ex- 
plore the unknown parts of the Polar Sea, whether these 



be near to or more remote from the Pole. I said this be- 
fore setting out, and I must keep it continually in mind. 
Certainly there are many important observations to be 
made on board during the further drift of the ship, many 
which I would dearly like to carry on myself; but all the 
more important of these will be made equally well here, 
even though two of our number leave the ship ; and there 
can scarcely be any doubt that the observations we shall 
make farther north will not many times outweigh in value 
those I could have made during the remainder of the 
time on board. So far, then, it is absolutely desirable that 
we set otit. 

" Then comes the question : What is the best time to 
start ? That the spring— March, at the latest— is the only 
season for such a venture there can be no doubt at all. 
But shall it be next spring.? Suppose, at the worst, we 
have not advanced farther than to 83° north latitude and 
110° east longitude; then something might be said for 
waiting till the spring of 1896; but I cannot but think 
that we should thus in all probability let slip the pro- 
pitious moment. The drifting could not be so wear- 
ingly slow but that after another year had elapsed we 
should be far beyond the point from which the sledge 
expedition ought to set out. If I measure the distance 
we have drifted from November of last year with the 
compasses, and mark off the same distance ahead, by 
next November we should be north of Franz Josef Land, 
and a litde beyond it. It is conceivable, of course, that 






we were no farther advanced in February, 1896, either; 
but it is more likely, from all I can make out, that the 
drift will increase rather than diminish as we work west- 
ward, and, consequently, in February, 1896, we should 
have got too far; while, even if one could imagine a 
better starting-point than that which the Fram will pos- 
sibly offer us by March i, 1895, it will, at all events, be 
a possible one. It must, consequently, be the safest plan 
no/ to wait for another spring. 

" Such, then, are the prospects before us of pushing 
through. The distance from this proposed starting-point 
to Cape Fligely, which is the nearest known land, I set 
down at about 370 miles,* consequently not much more 
than the distance we covered in Greenland; and that 
would be easy work enough over this ice, even if it did 
become somewhat bad towards land. If once a coast is 
reached, any reasonable being can surely man.ige to sub- 
sist by hunting, whether large or small game, whether 
bears or sandhoppers. Thus we can always make for 
Cape Fligely or Petermann s Land, which lies north of it, 
if our situation becomes untenable. The distance will, 
of course, be increased the farther we advance north- 
ward, but at no point whatever between here and the 
Pole is it greater than we can and will manage, with 
the help of our dogs. 'A line of retreat' is therefore 


* There must be an error here, as the distance to Cape Fligely from 
the point proposed, 83° north latitude and 110° east longitude, is quite 460 
miles. I had probably taken the longitude as 100° instead of 110°. 





secured, though there are those doubtless who hold that 
a barren coast, where you must first scrape your food 
together before you can eat it, is a poor retreat for hun- 
gry men; but that is really an advantage, for such a 
retreat would not be too alluring. A wretched inven- 
tion, forsooth, for people who wish to push on is a 
'line of retreat'— an everlasting inducement to look be- 
hind, when they should have enough to do in looking 

" But now for the expedition itself. It will consist of 28 
dogs, two men, and 2100 pounds of provisions and equip- 
ments. The distance to the Pole from ^^^ is 483 miles. 
Is it too much to calculate that we may be able to accom- 
plish that distance in 50 days .? I do not of course know 
what the staying powers of the dogs may be; but that, 
with two men to help, they should be able to do qA miles' 
a day with 75 pounds each for the first few days, sounds 
sufficiently reasonable, even if they are not very good 
ones. This, then, can scarcely be called a wild calcula- 
tion, always, of course, supposing the ice to be as it 
is here, and there is no reason why it should not be. 
Indeed, it steadily improves the farther north we get; 
and it also improves with the approach of sprtng! 
In 50 days, then, we should reach the Pole (in 65 davs 
we went 345 miles over the inland ice of Greenland at an 
elevation of more than 8000 feet, without dogs and with 
defective provisions, and could certainly have gone con- 
siderably farther). In 50 days we shall have consumed a 





Vh I 

pound of pemmican a day for each dog*— that is, 1400 
pounds altogether; and 2 pounds of provisions for each 
man daily is 200 pounds. As some fuel also will have 
been consumed during this time, the freight on the 
sledges will have diminished to less than 500 pounds; 
but a burden like this is nothing for 28 dogs to draw, so 
that they ought to go ahead like a gale of wind during the 
latter part of the time, and thus do it in less than the 50 
days. However, let us suppose that it takes this time. If 
all has gone well, we shall now direct our course for the 
Seven Islands, north of Spitzbergen. That is 9°, or 620 
miles. But if we are not in first-rate condition it will be 
safer to make for Cape Fligely or the land to the north 
of :t. Let us suppose we decide on this route. We set 
out from the /^ram on March ist (if circumstances are 
favorable, we should start sooner), and therefore arrive 
at the Pole April 30th. We shall have 500 pounds of 
our provisions left, enough for another 50 days ; but we 
can spare none for the dogs. We must, therefore, begin 
killing some of them, either for food for the others or for 
ourselves, giving our provisions to them. Even if my 
figures are somewhat too low, I may assume that by the 
time twenty-three dogs have been killed we shall have 
travelled 41 days, and still have five dogs left. How far 
south shall we have advanced in this time ? The wei^dit 
of baggage was, to begin with, less than 500 pounds— 

* During the actual expedition the dogs had to be content with a .nuch 
smaller daily ration, on an average scarcely more than 9 or 10 ounces. 


i" ■^ 




that is to say, less than 18 pounds foi each dog to draw. 
After 41 days this will at least have been reduced to 280 
pounds (by the consumption of provisions and fuel and by 
dispensin- with sundry articles of our equipment, such 
as sleeping-bags, tent, etc., etc., which will have become 
superfluous). There remain, then, 56 pounds for each of 
the five dogs, if we draw nothing ourselves ; and should it 
be desirable, our equipment might be still further dimin- 
ished. With a burden of from 18 to 56 pounds apiece (the 
latter would only be towards the end), the dogs would on 
an average be able to do 13! miles a day, even if the snow- 
surface should become somewhat more difficult. That 
is to say, we shall have gone 565 miles to the south, or 
we shall be i8i miles past Cape Fligely, on June ist, with 
five dogs and nine days' provisions left. But it is prob- 
able, in the first place, that we shall long before this have 
reached land ; and, secondly, so early as the first half of 
April the Austrians found open water by Cape Fligely 
and abundance of birds. Consequently, in May and June 
we should have no difficulty as regards f6od, not to men- 
tion that it would be strange indeed if we had not before 
that time met with a bear or a seal or some stray birds. 
" That we should now be pretty safe I consider as 
certain, and we can choose whichever route we please : 
either along the northwest coast of Franz Josef Land, 
by Gillis Land towards Northeast Island and Spitz- 
bergen (and, should circumstances prove favorable, this 
would decidedly be my choice), or we can go south 







Hi 'I !' 

through Austria Sound towards the south coast of Franz 
Josef Land, and thence to Novaya Zemlya or Spitzbergen, 
the latter by preference. We may, of course, find English- 
men on Franz Josef Land, but that we must not reckon on. 
"Such, then, is my calculation. ILive I made it 
recklessly? No, I think not. The only thing would 
be if during the latter part of the journey, in May, we 
should find the surface like what we had here last springs 
at the end of May, and should be considerably delayed 
by it. But this would only be towards the very end of 
our time, and at worst it could not be entirely impassable. 
Besides, it would be strange if we could not manage to 
average i U miles a day during the whole of the journey, 
with an average load for each dog of from 30 to 40 
pounds — it would not be more. However, if our cal- 
culations should prove faulty, we can always, as afore- 
said, turn back at any moment. 

" What unforeseen obstacles may eonfront us ? 

" I. The ice may be more impracticable than was 

" 2. We may meet with land. 
"3. The dogs may fail us, may sicken, or freeze to 

" 4. We ourselves may suffer from scurvy. 

" I and 2. That the ice may be more impracticable 
farther north is certainly possible, but hardly probable. 
I can see no reason why it should be, unless we have 

\ f« 




unknown lands to the north. But should this be so- 
very well, we must take what chance we find. The ice 
can scarcely be altogether impassable. Even Markham 
was able to advance with his scurvy-smitten people. And 
the coasts of this land may possibly be advantageous for 
an advance; it simply depends on their direction and 
extent. It is difficult to say anything beforehand, except 
that I think the depth of water we have here and the 
drift of the ice render it improbable that we can have 
land of any extent at all close at hand. In any case, 
there must, somewhere or other, be a passage for the ice.' 
and at the worst we can follow that passage. 

" 3. There is always a possibility that the dogs may 
fail us, but, as may be seen. I have not laid out anv scheme 
of excessive work for them. And even if one or two of 
them should prove failures, that could not be the case 
with all. With the food they have hitherto had they 
have got through the winter and the cold without mis- 
hap, and the food they will get on the journey will be 
better. In my calculations, moreover, I have taken no 
account of what we shall draw ourselves. And, even 
supposing all the dogs to fail us, we could manage to 
get along by ourselves pretty well. 

" 4- The worst event would undeniably be that we 
ourselves should be attacked by scurvy; and, notwith- 
standing our excellent health, such a contingency is quite 
conceivable when it is borne in mind how in the English 
North Pole Expedition all the men, with the exception 



of the officers, suffered from scurvy when the spring 
and the sledge journeys began, although as long as they 
were on board ship they had not the remotest suspicion 
that anything of the kind was lying in wait for them. 
As far, however, as we are concerned, I consider this 
contingency very remote. In the first place, the Eng- 
lish expedition was remarkably unfortunate, and hardly 
any others can show a similar experience, although 
they may have undertaken sledge journeys of equal 
lengths — for example, M'Clintock s. During the retreat 
of the Jea)mctte party, so far as is known, no one was 
attacked with scurvy ; Peary and Astrup did not suffer 
from scurvy either. Moreover, our supply of provisions 
has been more carefully selected, and offers greater 
variety than has been the case in former expeditions, not 
one of which has enjoyed such perfect health as ours. 
I scarcely think, therefore, that we should take with us 
from the Frant any germs of scurvy; and as regards 
the provisions for the sledge journey itself, I have taken 
care that they shall consist of good all-round, nutritious 
articles of food, so that I can scarcely believe that they 
would be the means of developing an attack of this dis- 
ease. Of course, one must run some risk; but in my 
opinion all possible precautions have been taken, and, 
when that is done, it is one's duty to go ahead. 

" There is yet another question that must be taken 
into consideration. Have I the right to deprive the 
ship and those who remain behind of the resources such 

1 r 

ii H 


ill' I' 

( I 


an expedition entails? The fact that there will be two 
men less is of little importance, for the Fram can be 
handled quite as well with eleven men. A more im- 
portant point is that we shall have to take with us all 
the dogs except the seven puppies ; but they are amply 
supplied with sledge provisions and first-class sledf^e 
equipments on board, and it is inconceivable that in 
case anything happened to the Fram they should be 
unable to reach Immuz Josef Land or Spitzbergen. It 
is scarcely likely that in case they had to abandon her 
it would be farther north than 85°; probably not even 
so far north. But suppose they were obliged to aban- 
don her at 85", it would probably be about north of 
Franz Josef Land, when they would be 207 miles 
from Cape Fligely; or if farther to the east it would be 
some 276 miles from the Seven Islands, and it is hard 
to believe that they could not manage a distance like 
that with our equipments. Now, as before, I am of 
opinion that the Fram will in all probability drift right 
across the polar basin and out on the other side with- 
out being stopped, and without being destroyed; but 
even if any accident should occur, I do not see why the 
crew should not be able to make their way home in safety, 
provided due measures of precaution are observed. Con- 
sequently, I think there is no reason why a sledge expedi- 
tion should not leave the Fram, and I feel that as it prom- 
ises such good results it ought certainly to be attempted." 






f MHZ MMf MHl 

Compiled at Cape Flora, Ufly 1896, and based upon 
Payer'*, Leigh Smith's, and Jackson'* Maps, together 
with my own obitmtiont.—FrldtJof Hansen. 
SvJtxcal JliLea 

Hansen and Johansen's Route 189B (-2etti August). 
. ftansen and Johansen's Route I898(19th May-nth June). 
The Darker Blue w'th Horizontal Strokes shows Water 
seen .V; »fl95. 

The Darker Blue with Vertioal Strokes shows Water 

|liliil||jlij|l|:ii seen in June 1896. 
The Pittoei where the underlying Rock pi ejects through the Ice-Sheet are 
indicated In the Darker Brown colour. This could not be done for the 
south part of Austria Sound, explored ba Payer, as flie nevessary infor- 
mation uias not supplied. 

The Zrimhui^b. Cp.ograjjtiit-al tiisritule 

Nansen's " F.irthest North." Harper & Brotlie 

3 " Farthest North." Harper & Brotliers, New York. 

Ji'hn BartJujlcTOpu' ^- Co 

'the Fdinbnrgh. Geogiiapliical lustiuue 

Nansen's *' Farthest North." Harper ^S. Ilroih 

I's " Farthest North." Harper ^S. brothers, New York. 

Jo^'BarxJciplomsw & Co